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Incapacitated Persons

Guardianship for Adults with Physical or Mental Disabilities

When an adult is no longer physically or mentally able to make important decisions regarding their health, finances or property, they may be appointed a guardian by the courts. A guardian is a surrogate decision-maker who is appointed by the court to make important financial and personal decisions for an adult with mental and/or physical disabilities. Once the court has appointed a guardian, the person they are taking care of is referred to as the "ward."

Under certain circumstances an adult's ability to make decisions can become significantly impaired. Such circumstances may involve Alzheimer's disease, old age, or severe mental illness. Whenever a physical or mental condition causes disruption in the person's ability to provide for his or her own basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and transportation, or when there is severe impairment in concentration, memory, thinking, or the presence of delusions or hallucinations, it may be in the person's best interests to obtain a guardian to manage their affairs.

What is adult guardianship?

Adult guardianship is the court process where the court determines that an adult's ability to make decisions is impaired. In effect, the court gives the right to make important decisions to another individual or entity. The court operates on the premise that the least restrictive form of guardianship is the most desirable, providing it's in the ward's best interests.

There are a number of court-mandated responsibilities bestowed upon the guardian:

  • The guardian is expected to act honorably all the while protecting the ward's best interests and improving the ward's quality of life.
  • The proposed guardian must be represented by an attorney.

An adult also has the right to voluntarily petition the court for the appointment of a guardian when he or she is incapable of managing their own care and estate; such petitions are generally incited by the infirmities of old age.

Contact a Miami Guardianship Lawyer

As a Coral Gables guardianship attorney with over three decades of experience, I can assist you in filing a petition to determine incapacity. I have received the AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, which is the highest rating a lawyer can receive for legal ability and ethical conduct. I also offer Spanish speaking services and reasonable attorney fees.

Contact me today to learn more about the duties involved in adult guardianship and how I can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a personal representative, and what are they responsible for? A personal representative is a person you choose and declare in your will to administer your estate. They are responsible for the entire estate administration process, which includes filing tax returns, paying off debts, and distributing your property according to your will. It is a huge responsibility, and the person you choose as an executor must understand what is involved in the estate administration process.
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