Guardianship

If you have a loved one, such as a parent, who is starting to suffer from dementia, other incapacitates or disabilities, someone needs to become their legal advocate. Every day in Florida, elderly persons who have become “vulnerable adults” are being taken advantage of by friends, family and criminals.  In order to prevent  harm  and   to  protect  the  vulnerable adult,   Florida law allows a family member or other concerned person to become the vulnerable adult’s legal Guardian.

A legal Guardian becomes the protector of the vulnerable adult’s person and property. There are certain requirements that a person must meet before they can be considered to become a legal Guardian.  A legal Guardian is appointed by the Court in the county where the vulnerable person lives. The Court has judicial oversight of the appointed legal Guardian’s actions.  The legal Guardian must reside in the same county as the vulnerable adult unless the Guardian is a direct family member.  A legal Guardian, by law, must be represented by an attorney. If a vulnerable adult has a Power of Attorney (POA) in place, the Court can supersede that POA with the appointment of a legal Guardian.

Too many times a parent, who has become a vulnerable adult, has been taken advantage of by their child. The perpetrator may even hold a POA over of the vulnerable adult.  This may lead to a family squabble over who is going to become the legal Guardian. The Court will then appoint a Professional Guardian, in lieu of a family member.  Attorney Kyle Fletcher has extensive experience in handling and litigating such scenarios.

If you know of anyone who is being taken advantage of, you are required by law to report your concerns to the Department of Children and Family Serves (DCF) Adult Protection Team at 407.971.4727. You should also contact Attorney Kyle Fletcher of the Fletcher Law Firm. Attorney Fletcher is regularly called upon by Judges in Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties to assist in the appointment of a Guardian for a vulnerable person. The Court has, in some very difficult and strained cases, appointed Attorney Kyle Fletcher, himself, as the Professional Guardian.

In addition to being court appointed as a Professional legal Guardian, Attorney Fletcher has been retained by over half a dozen different Professional Guardians to represent them in their respective cases when they have been appointed as a Guardian. DCF has also requested Attorney H. Kyle Fletcher to intervene when vulnerable adults have been abandoned or have no reliable family member to become their legal Guardian by selecting a Professional Guardian to represent before the Court as proposed for legal Guardian of the abandoned vulnerable adult. Further, on behalf of a family member or other interested person, Attorney Fletcher has successfully litigated (taken to trial), their Petition to the Court to become the legal Guardian of a vulnerable adult. Lastly, other Central Florida attorneys, who practice Guardianship law, have referred cases to Attorney H. Kyle Fletcher when the case has become highly contested and a trial is imminent.

When the appointment of a legal Guardian becomes contested, meaning more than one person wants to become the Guardian, legal guardianship will be determined at trial. Attorney H. Kyle Fletcher has significant trial experience and success; and in such, he is the attorney you want representing you in trial.

Fortunately, not all situations warrant a trial or are even contested. Sometimes a caregiver needs more legal authority than a POA has to offer. If there is no POA in place, a vulnerable adult cannot execute a POA   because they already lack the legal capacity to do so. A legal Guardian is therefore required.

After being appointed as a legal Guardian, a Guardian has many complex obligations, which are required of them pursuant to Florida law.  Annual accounting and annual plans are just a few of these legal obligations.  The Guardian must seek the Court’s approval on selling property and paying certain debts. At the Fletcher Law Firm, Mr. Fletcher has a paralegal, who is trained as a Professional Guardian, and works with Mr. Fletcher to answer client questions, as well as assisting clients in successfully complying with the governing Florida statutes.

If you are a caregiver struggling to find the time to travel to an attorney’s office, call the Fletcher Law Firm. We are happy to schedule an appointment for Attorney Fletcher to provide a free consultation, at your location, to discuss the laws and procedures for a Guardianship or Will, along with a Trust and Power-of-Attorney agreement. He will assist you in understanding how these legal documents will ensure your wishes are honored for the ongoing care of your loved one. Call 407.971.4727 today to schedule an appointment.