Can You Pursue Guardianship or Probate Without a Lawyer?

Sun, Jun 26, 2011

Guardianship, Probate

Florida Guardianship AttorneyWhat do guardians and executors have in common? Both are people placed in positions of great responsibility over others’ affairs, and both need expert legal advice.

What Does a Guardianship Lawyer Do?

A guardian is a someone who takes over the personal affairs, including finances, of a minor child or of an adult who is no longer capable of caring for himself. Minors are typically appointed guardians if both parents are deceased and/or unable to care for them, or if they come into a large sum of money through an inheritance or settlement.  Adult guardianships can be voluntary or involuntary, limited or plenary (in which all affairs are handled by the guardian). No matter the type of guardian arrangement, however, the personal and legal responsibilities cannot be underestimated. Your Florida guardianship attorney will help you decide if guardianship is the right choice for your situation, or if other, less personally invasive, solutions (such as durable Power of Attorney) are more sensible–and draw up the paperwork! Should you and your family decide that guardianship is the best option, your Florida Guardianship Attorney will guide you through the process and be your liaison with the court throughout the term of your guardianship.

Because guardianship is such an important matter, the legal process is a detailed one. Your Florida Guardianship Attorney will help you determine if your chosen guardian meets the state’s legal qualifications. She will then draw up the Petition for Determining Incapacity, the Petition for Appointment of Guardian, and the Application for Appointment as Guardian with the court. The court will appoint an attorney for the allegedly incapacitated person, as well as a committee of three experts who will examine him to determine whether or not he is incapacitated. If so, the court will then determine which type of guardianship is required and review guardianship applications. Your experienced Florida guardianship attorney will be helpful in the event of competing applications. If you are approved, you must be bonded. Your ward’s assets will be frozen; your attorney will help you obtain the necessary court orders, should you require access to them. She will also help you draw up and file an Initial Guardianship Plan and an Initial Guardianship Inventory, as well as any other documents the court requires.

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

Probate is the process by which a person’s estate is settled after they die. Contrary to popular belief, most estates need to go through some probate process. However, if you wish to make your heirs’ probate experience simpler, or if you find yourself the executor of an estate, a Florida Probate Lawyer can help. Even very simple estates generally involve a transfer or sale of assets, along with locating and settling final debts. It’s important that all of these things be accomplished and the requisite paperwork filed with the approval of the probate court–often a lengthy and detailed process. If the will is contested, if heirs are difficult to find, the executor lives out of state, or other complications arise, an experienced Florida probate lawyer can help you sort out the issue quickly–and legally. This last is important. As the executor of a friend’s or family member’s estate, you have the responsibility of sorting out their finances, and of frequently dealing with emotional relatives who may, at times, allow their feelings to get the better of them. With your highly-qualified Florida probate lawyer standing behind you with trustworthy advice, you can know that, whatever others may say, you’ve fulfilled your obligations to the utmost.

It would be nice if our lives were always pleasant. Misfortune comes to everyone, however, and Florida’s laws were written to help us navigate those challenges. Whatever you’re up against. don’t go it alone; contact a knowledgeable Florida attorney.

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