At the Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, PL, in Florida, we understand how difficult your life becomes if your parent or another family member becomes incapacitated to the point where (s)he cannot manage some or all of his or her own affairs. For instance, you may discover that your elderly parent is neglecting his or her personal hygiene, failing to pay bills on time, mishandling his or her medications, or having any number of other difficulties.
As the Florida court system explains, in difficult situations such as these, the only option may be for the court to appoint a guardian for your parent, i.e., a surrogate decision-maker to handle some or all of his or her affairs.
Limited versus plenary guardianships
Florida law provides for both limited and plenary guardianships. In a limited guardianship, the court decides, for instance, that your parent cannot handle his or her own finances, but can handle the other aspects of his or her life. In a plenary guardianship, in contrast, the court decides that your parent is incapacitated to the extent that (s)he lacks the capacity to care for himself or herself personally as well as financially.
Voluntary versus involuntary guardianships
Florida law likewise provides for both voluntary and involuntary guardianships. As its name implies, in a voluntary guardianship your parent, for instance, petitions the court himself or herself to appoint a guardian to handle some or all of his or her affairs. In an involuntary guardianship the court makes the decision of whether or not your parent needs a guardianship, and if so, which type.
Bear in mind that a guardianship takes away your parent's right to maintain control over some or all of the aspects of his or her life. Consequently, the court will seek to establish the least restrictive form of guardianship. In addition, it will retain jurisdiction over both your parent and you, should you be appointed guardian, so as to protect your parent's best interests.
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