Estate and Guardian Disputes in Florida
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Guardianship is a legal relationship where an adult (called the “guardian”) assumes legal responsibility for a child (a minor) unable to care for himself (the minor is known as the “ward”). Generally, a person becomes a legal guardian when a child’s natural parents have become deceased, and the guardian accepts the responsibility at the time. Guardianship can also occurs when a ward is not a minor, but is unable to make legal decisions on their own, such as in the case of a mentally incapacitated person or person diagnosed with a mental disability.
Guardianship disputes may arise before, during, and after the guardian appointment process. A guardian dispute is similar in nature to child custody dispute in a divorce. A common legal dispute is, “Which person should serve as the ward’s guardian?”
In addition, guardianship disputes often arise over the estate because a large portion may be slated to be the assets of the ward. As a minor, the ward will obviously require the guardian’s help in the management of the finances. A guardian must exercise reasonable care and loyalty to the ward when managing the ward’s estate, although mismanagement is commonplace.
Guardianship is often contested due to concerns about an individual’s ability to serve in the role. There may be evidence of mishandling of funds, fraud, or physical abuse of a ward.
Our Miami Dade, Palm Beach and Broward guardian dispute attorneys resolve guardianship disputes through negotiation and if necessary litigation. We represent guardians, conservators and interested parties who believe that they have a reason to contest a guardianship.
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Florida guardian disputes can be emotional, protracted and expensive. In worst case scenarios a significant percentage of the ward’s assets are depleted by the dispute. No one is well-served by that result.
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