It can be heartbreaking to see your parents' physical and cognitive abilities decline in their golden years. They took care of you, and now you worry that others might take advantage of them. At the Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L., we understand there are many scams in Florida and elsewhere that target vulnerable elderly citizens, and we are prepared to assist you in keeping this from happening to your parents.
Florida elder law is designed to protect aging individuals, sometimes in cases when they are unable to make healthy and competent decisions on their own. However, these protections come with a cost: One must place one's trust in an appointed guardian. Guardianship should be established carefully, regardless of the fact that it is a relatively straightforward process in the state.
Legally entrusting one with another's decision-making authority is a significant action. Thus, most might assume that not just anyone in Miami can be empowered with such responsibility. However, were one to take a high-level glimpse at Florida's guardianship requirements, he or she might think them to be extremely lax. Technically, any adult resident of the state (or non-resident that is related to the proposed ward and has not been convicted of a felony) can serve in this role. Yet this does not mean that there are not more requirements placed on potential guardians.
Many Miami residents have come us here at The Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L. after having had a loved one committed to a guardianship convinced that those parties will become the targets of financial exploitation and abuse. If you share this same concern, your fears likely rise from the assumption that when one is determined to be incapacitated, all of his or her rights and decision-making powers are essentially revoked. Yet even when one becomes the ward of a guardian, he or she does still retain basic freedoms.
Like many of those who have elderly loved ones living in Miami, you may agree with the decision to place your aging family member or friend under the care of a guardian. However, the circumstances of your loved one's case may leave him or her as a ward of a public guardian. Many come to us here at The Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L. after family members or friends have been placed in such a situation. If this describes your case, you likely share their concern regarding what accountability the court places on such a professional.
Florida residents who are dealing with matters of legal guardianship or conservatorship may wish to know the differences between the two categories. Though they cover similar purposes, they do apply to different situations.
Appointing a guardian is a great way to ensure that you and your family are taken care of if you ever become incapable of making decisions on your own. If you are preparing to take this important step and assign a guardian in Florida, there are a few things to keep in mind. We at the Law Offices of Frye and Vazquez can help you ensure that you follow all rules and regulations as you plan for the future of your family.
It is always difficult to see your loved one assigned to be the ward of a professional guardian in Miami. Yours and your loved one’s lack of a personal relationship with the guardian is likely the main source of your reservations. Stories of professional guardians abusing the authority entrusted to them are out there, which may be perceived as an implication that they can operate with impunity. Yet are there ways for you to monitor a guardian’s actions?
One of the main reasons that Miami residents are encouraged to see to their estate planning early on in their lives to protect themselves and their assets in the event that they become incapacitated. Those who do not risk their decision-making power being handed over to a professional guardian, who may be someone to whom they or their families have no connection with whatsoever. While the law does require that professional guardians be subjected to rigorous background screening and undergo several hours of specialized training, guardianship abuse remains a problem. The United States Government Accountability Office reports that between 1990 and 2010, select cases of guardianship abuse resulted in $5.4 million being stolen from wards.
The hope of many in Miami may be that if the day ever arises where they are no longer able to care for themselves, family members or friends will be able to step in and see to their needs. However, if you have a loved one who has reached that point, your circumstances may not allow you the time and resources needed to provide for him or her. If he or she is not able to afford a caregiver, then having him or her placed under the care of a professional guardian may need to be considered.