Guardianship Lawyers in Gainesville, Florida

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Guardianship is a process designed to protect and assist people who are physically or mentally incapacitated due to age, illness or mental decline.

The basic types of guardianships are guardianship of a minor and guardianship of an adult, and guardianship may be of the person, property, or both. A guardian, who is appointed by the Court, makes decisions on behalf of, and cares for, the ward (incapacitated person or minor) always with the ward’s best interests in mind. These decisions may be regarding financial matters or medical and personal care, among other things. Guardianship proceedings are not always necessary and can be avoided in certain instances. However, when a guardianship is the only option, a guardianship lawyer’s assistance is very important. Our attorneys at The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates can answer your questions about your potential guardianship matter and help you throughout the process.

Avoiding Guardianship

At the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates in Gainesville, Florida, our estate planning lawyers understand the importance of guardianship avoidance. Avoiding guardianship is an essential part of estate planning. Upon the death of a parent or grandparent, guardianship of a minor’s property can often be avoided with the proper use of a will or trust. Guardianship of an incapacitated person can often be avoided with the proper use of a revocable living trust or advance directives including durable powers of attorney and designations of health care surrogate. Our estate planning attorneys take the time to discuss your individual situation and recommend a customized estate plan which includes guardianship avoidance.

Planning for Guardianship

A client who is concerned about a future guardianship may want to designate a trusted friend or relative as a pre-need guardian. Designating a pre-need guardian can provide you with a great sense of peace and assurance. If guardianship proceedings are ever initiated, the Court will already know your choice of guardian.

Sometimes Guardianships are Necessary

When a guardianship is necessary, our lawyers Richard Knellinger and Christopher Hopkins can assist you throughout the guardianship process.

Guardianship of a Minor

Guardianship of property of a minor may be necessary when a minor is to receive property and there is no adequate will or trust in place. Our guardianship attorneys work with parents and guardians who need to establish a guardianship of property so that wrongful death and personal injury claims can be settled or the minor’s share of an estate can be distributed. Guardianship of the person of a minor is the process of court appointment of an adult to provide for the personal care of a minor when a parent has died or is unable to care for a child. Our attorneys work with relatives or other adults who wish to be appointed guardian of the person of a minor.

Guardian Advocacy of a Developmentally Disabled Adult

When a child with a developmental disability reaches adulthood, a parent can no longer legally make decisions for that child without becoming a guardian advocate. Our guardianship attorneys assist parents whose disabled children reach adulthood become a legal guardian advocate, so that the parent may continue to make health care, residential and other decisions on a child’s behalf.

Guardianship of an Incapacitated Adult

Your parent, grandparent, elderly relative or friend may begin to experience signs of mental or physical incapacity. At this stage in life, your loved one may find it difficult to make financial and personal care decisions on their own. You may be concerned that someone is taking financial advantage of your loved one. Our guardianship attorneys ask questions to determine if a guardianship is necessary. Does the elder experiencing trouble have a trust with a designated successor trustee? Is the trust fully funded with the elder’s assets? Does the elder have an agent named in a durable power of attorney or health care surrogate? Our guardianship attorneys can assist you in determining if there are guardianship alternatives or if guardianship is the best option for your situation. We represent guardians through all stages of guardianship court proceedings including determining incapacity, the appointment of the guardian, the initial and annual guardianship plan for the care of the Ward, the safeguarding and inventory of the guardianship assets, and the annual accounting of the Ward’s property. Our Gainesville lawyers explain your fiduciary duties, the responsibilities of the guardian, and the rights of the ward. The court appointment of a legal guardian is sometimes the only means to protect your loved one’s person and property.

Our attorneys at the Law Office of Knellinger & Associates in Gainesville, Florida can assist you throughout the guardianship process. We will help you to understand this process, from an incapacity proceeding, to seeking the appointment of a guardian, to meeting the ongoing responsibilities of the guardian after appointment. We will consider your immediate and future needs and advise you as to the best course of action for you and your loved one.

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The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.

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