When a person cannot make decisions for her or himself, the court may appoint a guardian to handle all or some of those decisions. The person for whom decisions are to be made is called a ward, who may be a minor child, an adult with a mental illness or an adult with a physical impairment. After careful review of the ward’s situation and capacity, the court may order a limited guardianship or plenary guardianship, which allows control over all of the ward’s affairs.
The Law Office of Jeffrey A. Attia, PA is a knowledgeable guardianship firm that handles the full scope of guardianship matters in Fort Myers and the surrounding areas. We represent wards who voluntarily petition the court for a guardian and those who are the subject of an involuntary guardianship petition. We also represent clients who are seeking guardianship over another person’s affairs and continue with that representation in regard to the wide variety of issues that may arise throughout the guardianship relationship.
The court weighs what instrument is the least restrictive on a person’s life when deciding whether to appoint a guardian and how much control to give that guardian. A limited guardian handles some, but not all, of the ward’s affairs.
For example, a parent might be perfectly fit to make most of her child’s decisions, but may not be the appropriate person to make decisions about the child’s inheritance gifted by the other parent from whom she was divorced. Yet, the child would lack the capacity to make sensible decisions about a large sum of money. In this case, the court might appoint a limited guardian whose power is restricted to matters related to the inheritance.
A plenary guardianship may be necessary if a person becomes severely incapacitated and cannot take care of himself. A plenary guardian is responsible for handling all of a ward’s affairs. Because this is such a drastic restraint on freedom, the court will only order a plenary guardianship if there is no less restrictive option available.
The court conducts a thorough hearing on the ward’s level of incapacity, relying on doctors’ evaluations and medical records that prove the ward’s inability to properly care for himself. The court also implements sufficient checks and balances to protect the ward and will terminate the guardianship once the ward regains capacity. A ward who suffered a serious injury, for example, may require a plenary guardian if she is in a coma. However, if her condition improves, the court may place limitations on the guardianship and may eventually terminate the guardianship altogether. In contrast, an adult with late term dementia may require a plenary guardianship for the remainder of her life.
Consult With a Dedicated Fort Myers Guardianship Attorney
If you have questions regarding limited and plenary guardianship or need assistance with guardianship petitions, disputes and court proceedings, Fort Myers guardianship attorney Jeffrey Attia is available to help. To schedule a consultation, call 239.919.2318 or complete our convenient online contact form.