Guardianships & Special Needs Planning
Guardianships & Special Needs Planning Attorney in Jacksonville, FL
In Florida, a guardianship is a legal relationship in which a person (the guardian) is appointed by a court to manage the personal and/or financial affairs of another person(the ward) who is unable to do so due to physical or mental incapacitation, or is a minor. The guardian has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the ward, such as where the ward will live, what medical treatment the ward will receive, and how the ward's financial affairs will be managed.
Guardianships can be an important tool for protecting the well-being of special needs adults who are unable to manage their own affairs due to physical or mental incapacitation. In Florida, a guardianship can be established for a special needs adult if the court determines that the individual is unable to make responsible decisions about his or her own care and well-being.
It is important to note that guardianships are intended to be used as a last resort after all other alternatives have been exhausted. There are less restrictive alternatives to guardianships that may be more appropriate in some cases, such as powers of attorney, health care surrogates, and living wills. These alternatives allow the special needs adult to retain as much autonomy as possible while still receiving necessary support and protection.
Special needs estate planning is important for individuals with special needs and their families because it allows them to plan for the long-term care and financial security of the special needs individual. Without proper planning, an individual with special needs may not have the necessary support and resources to maintain his or her quality of life in the event of the incapacitation or death of the individual's caregiver or parents.
There are several key elements to special needs estate planning, including:
- Setting up a trust: A trust can be used to hold and manage assets for the benefit of the special needs individual. This can help to ensure that the individual has access to the financial resources he or she needs to live a comfortable and fulfilling life, while still allowing the individual to retain government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Naming a guardian: If a guardianship is necessary, it is important to carefully consider and choose a guardian who will act in the best interests of the special needs individual and ensure that his or her needs are met.
- Creating a financial plan: A financial plan can help to ensure that the special needs individual has the financial resources he or she needs to live a comfortable and fulfilling life, while still retaining government benefits.
- Designating a health care surrogate: A health care surrogate is a person who is authorized to make medical decisions on behalf of the special needs individual in the event that he or she is unable to do so. It is important to choose someone who is reliable, responsible, and able to act in the best interests of the special needs individual.
Special needs estate planning can be complex, and it is important to work with an attorney who has experience in this area to ensure that all legal and financial matters are properly addressed.
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