Adults may require guardians for financial or health matters

Court-appointed or chosen guardians may assist adults with physical or mental disabilities. Their assistance may include making financial or personal decisions. As noted on the Florida Courts’ website, the court may establish legal guardianship when an individual becomes severely impaired.

By not drafting documents specifying a guardian ahead of unexpected incapacitation, a judge may appoint one. The guardian, however, may not possess the needed skills. He or she may need to carry out financial affairs or discuss private health care matters on behalf of an impaired individual.

Documents may include instructions and chosen representatives

Estate planning documentation, such as a durable power of attorney or health care designation, may allow individuals to choose their own guardians. Legal documents generally provide the name of a trusted personal representative. He or she may also receive the authority to make decisions for an individual by proxy.

As noted by, an individual granted guardianship may have the legal right to take control of an incapacitated individual’s financial matters. A power of attorney, for example, may provide instructions on handling bank accounts and retirement funds.

A guardian may require access to medical records

A guardian or health care surrogate typically needs access to an individual’s medical records. Prepared documents may include specific medical treatments or procedures that an individual prefers to receive. A guardian must honor these wishes while discussing health care issues.

When a court-ordered guardianship goes into effect, the incapacitated individual becomes the “ward.” The Sunshine State’s court system monitors the relationship and oversees a guardian’s decisions. When choosing a trusted personal representative in advance, however, an individual may require specific legal forms. Documents prepared in advance may allow a guardian or surrogate to carry out an individual’s wishes.

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