Imagine this scenario: You have a close cousin. The two of you went through high school together, but in your junior year, she became disabled after suffering severe injuries in an auto accident. Her parents have approached you about becoming her successor legal guardian after they pass away.
Perhaps your parent just received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and you are wondering about what the future holds. If the two of you have not yet discussed subjects like health care directives and powers of attorney, now would be a good time.
If you have been following our blog, you know that there are some circumstances in which adults are assigned guardians to represent their own interests. For the parents of special needs adults, following legal proceedings to obtain the right to serve as their child's legal guardian can be wise option. Even if your child is engaged in full-time employment and resides in an assisted living home, she may need someone to make medical decisions or schedule doctor's appointments. While the law recognizes the age of 18 as the demarcation for independent judgment on finances, medical treatment and living conditions, such deliberations may prove too challenging for adults with special needs.
Dealing with the demise of a spouse or another close family member is naturally difficult. Nevertheless, it cannot be avoided, and every Florida citizen will go through such a traumatic experience at some time. Unfortunately, the stress of dealing with the financial intricacies and matters such as conservatorship cannot be escaped. Matters to address include those related to assets, insurance, investments, and -- in many cases -- family members who are contentious.
Not everyone has the authority or capacity to represent his or her own interests in a legal proceeding. Florida family and probate courts sometimes appoint guardians ad litem to protect the interests of individuals, like minors or incapacitated parties, in these instances. To be clear, a person who is a guardian ad litem is not the same as a person known as a guardian, who makes decisions for others.