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Tips for Becoming a Successful Family Member Guardian in Florida

Family Member Guardian

If you have begun to notice warning signs that your loved one is being self-neglectful, forgetful or, exercising poor judgment don’t ignore them! Look at it as an opportunity to safeguard your loved one by becoming their legal family member guardian through a guardianship. Guardianship is a court supervised process where a person is determined to be incapacitated and unable to make their financial decisions and/or personal care decisions. The incapacitated person’s legal rights are delegated to a Florida guardian.

My experience and success as a guardianship lawyer in Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County can benefit you without you having to make mistakes. Let me share my insight with you. If I were you, knowing what I know as a guardianship lawyer, I would suggest you prepare to become a guardian by taking the following steps:

  1. Timing is Crucial! Don’t wait until there is a crisis to consult with a guardianship attorney. Schedule a consultation now so your questions can be answered, the options outlined, and you can make an informed decision while you are calm and thinking clearly. This could save you time and money.
  2. Seek Medical Help. Your loved one may need to be seen by a medical professional to determine what is causing a change or problem in their aging process or, behavior and the best way to address it. Your loved one may need assistance in the home provided by a licensed home health agency. Make a list of medical providers and their contact information including health insurance information. If possible, get them medical attention prior to being appointed a Florida guardian.
  3. Work with a care manager. An experienced care manager is worth their weight in gold. They can help you navigate through medical, social, psychological issues toward solutions. A care manager can also serve as an advocate. Care managers may have credentials as either a licensed clinical social worker or, as a nurse. A care manager is especially helpful to monitor your loved one if you do not reside in Florida.
  4. Protect them from exploitation. Until you are appointed guardian do your best to minimize having cash, checkbooks, financial documentation, jewelry and credit cards available in your loved one’s home. Make an inventory of these items. Don’t allow neighbors to have a key to
    your loved one’s home.
  5. Organize. Organizing your loved one’s records (as well as mail) will make your job as a Florida guardian easier especially since you will need to provide the Letters of Guardianship (signed by the Judge) to each financial institution where there are assets. Consider keeping electronic records as a back-up to paper copies.
  6. Document Your Time. Document the time you are spending and expenses you are paying from your personal assets so that you can request reimbursement from the guardianship. Florida
    guardianship law allows a guardian to be reimbursed for expenses and reasonably compensated for their time when it creates a benefit to the incapacitated person.

Most importantly, hire an experienced and preferably board certified lawyer to guide you through the process and the Court requirements so that you can successfully fulfill your responsibilities.