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Seeking guardianship over a disabled sibling or declining parent

Guardianship can have several different meanings. One of the most common forms of guardianship involves a non-parental adult stepping in to care for a child after the death of their parents or the state's revocation of their parents' authority. However, guardianship can also benefit adults with health or cognitive issues.

It is possible for individuals to seek guardianships over those with severe cognitive impairment, dementia or other extreme physical and mental health issues. When someone is no longer capable of providing care for themselves, the courts in Florida may decide that a guardian would be better able to manage their finances and make legal and medical decisions on their behalf.

If your parents are experiencing the decline so common in later life or if you have a sibling or other loved one who has always had cognitive impairment or has developed issues, potentially due to a traumatic brain injury, seeking guardianship over them as an adult may be the best option.

You have to demonstrate a lack of competency to the court

Not just anyone can become a guardian, and not just anyone can wind up under a guardianship. The Florida courts will want to review medical documentation or hear testimony explaining how the adult that you hope to serve as guardian for is incapable of managing their own affairs.

From diagnostic paperwork to records of strange and unusual decisions in recent days, there are many forms of evidence that can help demonstrate to the courts how your guardianship could protect and benefit your loved one.

Do you have what it takes to serve as a guardian?

Being the guardian of somebody with cognitive disabilities or dementia doesn't just mean that you take control over their finances and assets. You also assume legal responsibility for them and have an obligation to act in their best interest. Guardians have what the state calls of fiduciary duty to those whom they serve.

A guardian should never make a decision that benefits them over their charge. In addition to putting the needs of your loved one before your own wishes, you must have the time and health to manage an entire life beyond your own. From paying bills on behalf of your loved one to taking them to medical appointments and managing the care they receive, serving as a guardian could be a very time-consuming responsibility.

It is possible in some situations for family members, such as siblings, to share the various responsibilities that come with guardianship. Talking about your concerns with other family members prior to going to court can improve your chances of success and ensure that you have the support you need both for the legal proceedings and the practical reality assuming guardianship over a loved one.

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