May 2007 Archives

May 28, 2007

Florida Guardianship: Examining Committee

In Jacksonville (Duval County) Florida and other Florida cities the examining committee consists of three members. One must be a physician or psychiatrist. Each member must examine the Alleged Incapacitate Person (AIP). The examination consists of tree parts:

1) a physical examination
2) a mental examination, and
3) a functional assessment of the person.

The committee's report must contain a diagnosis, a prognosis, and a recommended course of action for the AIP. If all three of these are not present, it is not a valid report.

In addition, the committee must also consult the AIP's attending physician. In the event that the examining committee finds that there is no need for a guardianship, the petition to determine incapacity shall be dismissed. If the petition is filed in bad faith, the court may impose costs and attorney's fees on the Petitioner.

One recent change in Florida is that if 2 of the 3 don't find a need for the guardianship, the case must be dismissed.

May 24, 2007

Florida Guardianship: Who may be Appointed as a Guardian

In Jacksonville and other areas of Florida, once the Alleged incapacitated person is found to be incapacitated, he or she becomes a ward. The ward is entitled to have a qualified and competent guardian who:

1) must be at least 18 years old
2) a resident of Florida or a blood relative, adopted child or the ward's spouse, and
3) may not be a
previously abused or neglected an elderly person,
anyone who provides services to the ward,
a creditor of the ward,
an employee of an entity that provides services to the ward, or
one of the examining committee members who examined the Alleged incapacitated person

For questions about serving as a Florida Guardian for a person who has been adjudged a ward you should talk with a Florida Guardianship Attorney who represents ward's rights

May 22, 2007

Estate Planning for your parents

Orange Park, Duval, St. Johns, Jacksonville Florida
Most Jacksonville estate planning attorneys or those in other locations, focus on your heirs (children and grandchildren). As your parents are aging it is also important to consider and evaluate your parent's estate planning. One you understand the value in creating your own estate plan, you need to understand what effects your parents estate planning will have on you. You may find that your parents should leave the maximum exempt amount to their grandchildren (GST Trust)instead of to you. This can help avoid an extra layer of Death taxes. Its also important to classify their assets and allow the Personal representative or trustee the flexibility and duty to find which assets have the most appreciation (lowest cost value) and allocate those as to be most beneficial to the estate. If you can discuss your parent's estate planning with them, you may want to. You should speak with an estate planning attorney who can help structure a multi generational estate plan to help you and your parents establish a plan that will pass their values and protect inheritance.

May 20, 2007

Plenary Guardianship vs. Limited Guardianship

A Jacksonville Guardianship Attorney will always attempt to obtain a Limited Guardianship for his clients when ever possible. Generally in Jacksonville and around Florida, The courts must use the least restrictive means when establishing a Florida Guardianship. When a person has all of his /her rights removed they will have a Plenary guardianship. If one right or more is retained then the guardianship is limited.

The duties of a guardian may be divided into two parts:

1) The duties dealing with the person of a ward, and
2) The duties with the property of a ward.

Therefore a court may appoint a guardian of the person of a ward who will be given the rights that has to do with the person, such as the right to:
Consent to mental and medical treatment,
Determine the ward's residence, and
Make decisions about the social environment and social aspects of the ward's life.

A guardian of the property will be appointed to handle some or all of the rights dealing with the property. Those rights include the right to:
File suit and defend lawsuits,
Apply for government benefits,
Manage property, and
Make gifts or disposition of property.

May 18, 2007

Florida Guardianship: Rights of the ward

In Jacksonville and the rest of Florida a ward has many rights. Their Florida Guardianship Lawyer can work to maximize the rights that they retain. A ward or incapacitated person has rights that can be taken away, rights that can be delegated to the guardian, and the ward has many rights that cannot be taken away.

1) Rights that can be taken away fro the ward. These are found in Florida Statutes Section 744.3215 and include the following:
a) The right to marry

b) The right to Vote

c) The right to personally apply for government benefits

d) The right to have a driver's license

e) The right to travel

f) The right to seek or retain employment.

Continue reading "Florida Guardianship: Rights of the ward" »

May 15, 2007

Florida Will Requirements

Jacksonville Florida Estate Planning Lawyers are often asked who may make make a will in Florida. The answer to this can be found in the Florida Statutes, Section 732.501 which states:

732.501 Who may make a will.--Any person who is of sound mind and who is either 18 or more years of age or an emancipated minor may make a will.

Whether you live in Jacksonville or some other area of Florida, the requirements are the same.

May 10, 2007

Florida Will Execution Requirements

Jacksonville, Duval, Ponte Vedra, Jacksonville beach, orange parkThe Florida Statute, Section 732.502 define the requirements for a valid execution of a Florida Will. You should have your will reviewed if you move to another state, marry, divorce, have children, or any major change affects your finances, or family.

In addition to being in writing, the will must include the testator's signature at the end of the will. If the person creating the will is unable to sign, they can ask someone else to sign for them at their direction, while in the testator's presence.

Two witnesses must acknowledge the will was signed in their presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

Some states other than Florida require the the witnesses not be mentioned in the will as beneficiaries or they will be considered an interested witness. Florida does not have such a requirement (Florida Statute, Section 732.504), but it is best to use witnesses who are not mentioned in the will. It is a good idea to have a Florida Estate Planning Attorney review your will at least once a year.

May 4, 2007

Duval County, Florida Court, Courthouse Duval, FL

Florida Estate Planning Lawyers in Jacksonville Florida. Jacksonville is located in Duval County. Jacksonville is the largest city in the state of Florida and the largest contiguous city in the United States. Jacksonville is located about 25 miles south of Georgia. Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of north east Florida and the St. johns River runs through the center of the city. In 1822 Jacksonville was renamed after Andrew Jackson, who was the first military governor of the Florida Territory and the 7th President of the United states. Duval county is surrounded by St. Johns County, Nassau, and Clay County. The current courthouse is located on the banks of the St. Johns River and its address is.

Duval County Court House
330 East Bay Street, Room 103
Jacksonville, FL 32202

The 1901 burned down the original court house pictured below.
Jacksonville, Clay, Orange Park, Duval, St. Johns, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach-court-old.jpg
One of Florida's oldest counties, Duval was created in 1822 and named for the first territorial governor, William P. DuVal. The St. Johns River bisects the county and a fording place has existed near Jacksonville since prehistoric times. The Timucuan people called it wacca pilatka, "place where cows cross," and under British rule this became Cow Ford. In 1822 a city was platted on the site and named for Andrew Jackson, the military governor who had preceded Duval.
Duval County's first courthouse was built in the 1840's at what is now the corner of Forsyth and Market Streets. It was burned during the Civil War. A more durable brick structure went up in 1886. According to "postcard historian" Hampton Dunn, in Jacksonville "time is measured by 'before the fire' or 'after the fire'", referring to the 1901 conflagration that wiped out the downtown. Among the first buildings reconstructed was the courthouse, which was relocated across the street from the old. The walls of the older building survived the fire, were incorporated into a new armory, and, remodeled again at mid-century, remain as part of the present-day Lanier Building.

The 1902 courthouse, designed by architect Rutledge Holmes, soon proved too small and an annex was added in 1914. Apparently the plans contemplated the possibility of adding as many as seven more stories, but this was never done. Instead, a modern courthouse was dedicated in 1958 and the 1902 courthouse was demolished; the annex was spared and, later expanded to cover the entire site, continues to house county offices.

Duval County merged with the city of Jacksonville in 1968; in area if not in population, Jacksonville is now one of the largest cities in America.