A Tampa Guardianship Attorney may be needed for a variety of reasons – an elderly person becomes incapacitated and can no longer manage their property or be by themselves; a minor child loses their parents or inherits property valued at more than $15,000; a disabled child turns 18 years old and the parent can no longer make legal or healthcare decisions for the disabled child. Establishing a Guardianship requires the use of an attorney and the Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall can help in the following ways:

  • Preparing the Petitions to Determine Incapacity and to Appoint a Guardian, and attending those hearings with the potential guardian.
  • Helping the guardian file an inventory of the Ward’s assets and a plan on how the Ward will be cared for (this must be done on an annual basis).
  • Helping family members set up special needs trusts for disabled beneficiaries.
  • Working with personal injury attorneys or individuals to establish a guardianship over the property for a minor who is the beneficiary of a settlement.
  • Working with the guardian to be discharged at the end of the case (death, age of maturity, restoration of capacity, transfer of guardianship out-of-state).

We work with potential guardians to set up the guardianship whether it be for a minor child, an incapacitated adult, or a disabled adult child.

Guardianship Glossary

Case / Care Management— Geriatric care management is a profession dedicated to assisting elderly people and their families develop plans for long-term care and living arrangements. Care management also involves assessment of needs, coordination, and management of daily and long-term support services.

Healthcare surrogacy — Healthcare surrogacy is when a person is appointed by a competent adult to make all healthcare decisions during any period of incapacity of the maker. The healthcare surrogate has the duty when acting on behalf of the maker to consult with healthcare providers and make the healthcare decisions that the individual would have made for her/himself, not those which the surrogate would have chosen. The designation of a healthcare surrogate may be revoked by its maker at any time.

Living trust — A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is an alternative to a will for the distribution of one’s assets. During the owner’s lifetime, property can be transferred in and out of the trust by the owner. After the owner’s death, the trust cannot be revoked and the property owned by the trust is not subject to probate.

Durable power of attorney — A durable power of attorney is a special document provided by Florida law that allows a person to act on behalf of another even if the latter becomes incapacitated.

Living wills — A living will (not a living trust) is a properly witnessed written declaration directing the withholding or withdrawal of life prolonging procedures in the event one should have a terminal condition. In Florida, the definition of “life prolonging procedures” has been expanded by the legislature to include the provision of food and water to terminally ill patients. Once the living will has been witnessed and signed, it is the responsibility of the maker to notify his or her physician of its existence. It is an even better idea to provide both the physician and the hospital with copies of the document. A living will may be revoked by its maker at any time.

Joint tenancy — Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is one of several ways for two or more people to hold an interest in the same property at the same time. Almost any kind of property can be held in joint tenancy, whether personal property or real property such as homes, buildings, land, and even bank accounts.

Community services — Community services may include services such as government programs designed for the elderly, home health and companion services, and local civic programs.

Alternatives to Guardianship

Because establishing a guardianship is highly intrusive and involves the removal of rights from an individual, it should be considered only after all alternatives have been examined. When an individual still retains the capacity to act on his/her own behalf, the following may be evaluated and determined as viable alternatives to guardianship:

  • Case /care management
  • Healthcare surrogacy
  • Living Trusts
  • Durable powers of attorney
  • Living wills
  • Joint tenancy
  • Community services