It can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact that you or your loved one lacks the capacity to manage various medical, financial and lifestyle matters. Whether this deficiency stems from age or mental incapacity, it can be very upsetting to realize that someone else needs to step in to make certain decisions on that person's behalf.
Attorney Minerva Vazquez featured on
Parents Should Know The ABC's Of Special Needs Trusts
By Shelly Shwartz
Special needs trusts serve another important purpose, too, according to Minerva Vazquez, an attorney with Miami law firm Frye & Vazquez, who specializes in the area of special needs estate planning.
All aspects of estate planning are tied to the goal of retaining control over one's finances - even after one is incapacitated or deceased. We create wills in order that everyone knows the manner in which we would like to see our assets distributed. We also put together estate planning so that it's clear what we have as a part of our estate. And we name executors in order that we have someone we can trust to carry out our wishes.
One young Florida teenager had found himself three years ago missing classes and barely receiving passing grades in school. This all changed when the parents of one of his friends became what were called his educational guardians. These two individuals were soon provided the authority to make decisions concerning the young man's education.
One incentive to putting together a well thought out estate plan is to learn from the mistakes of others. Surprisingly, many of those mistakes are made by individuals that we would think would know better.
In the event that a person in Miami-Dade, or some other locality, is unable to make their own decisions, the court may appoint a guardian to take legal responsibility for them. While in some cases the person granted guardianship might be a relative or friend, often times the court appointed guardian is someone who has had no previous relationship with the person who they have been charged with caring for.
In the event a family member is not available, or there is an ongoing dispute between family members regarding a loved one's care, judges in Miami-Dade may appoint an outside party to serve as a person's guardian. While in some cases this can ensure an elderly or mentally ill person is receiving proper care, in some unfortunate situations, a court appointed guardian might take advantage of the very person they have a legal responsibility to look out for.
Florida court upholds rights of an alleged incapacitated person to council...even in emergency guardianship proceedings.
Becoming a caregiver for a family member often goes beyond helping elderly parents or taking care of someone with emotional issues--such as the case with Britney Spears that we discussed a few weeks ago. Millions of people in Florida and across the country have siblings with lifelong special needs, and more and more of them are finding themselves in the position of caring for them after their parents are gone.