Articles Posted in Guardianship

Jacksonville Guardianship Lawyer Kendal Schoepfer in our office prepared this Article which may help some prevent the need for a Florida Guardianship.

Florida Guardianship Court proceedings are currently in progress regarding the Florida Guardianship of the Second Man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, in Florida. The proceedings were filed by two of his three children, Andrew Aldrin and Janice Aldrin, back in May.  His third child, James Michael, has remained out of the proceedings and has currently not taken a side. Andrew and Janice’s reasons for filing the guardianship of the second man on the moon is due to a claimed cognitive decline, claiming their father and the former astronaut is suffering from dementia, and Alzheimer’s which is causing paranoia, confusion, and making him susceptible to persuasion by others.

Buzz Aldrin, who is now 88 years old and who maintains he is still competent and able to make his own financial decisions, has fired back by filing his own lawsuit against his children claiming Andrew and Janice have stolen money from him and accused them of elder abuse and conspiracy. These claims are mostly surrounding their involvement in his company, Buzz Aldrin Ventures, where both Andrew and Janice hold high positions. Aldrin told Good Morning America that the day his children filed for guardianship over him was “the saddest thing that ever happened in my family” and that he “really felt that it really didn’t need to come to this.”

The difference between obtaining custody of a minor and guardianship of a minor in Jacksonville, Florida?

Florida offers several solutions to provide for obtaining custody of a minor and guardianship of a minor children. Two of the best solutions your Jacksonville lawyer can help with are  obtaining custody of a minor child and guardianship  of a minor child. Which is best for your situation depends greatly on why and how long the minor child will be under your care and in Florida. Factors include whether the child is only staying with you temporarily or for a specific period of time, or while the parents are unable to care for the child.

If the child will not be under your care indefinitely, then a guardianship most likely is more appropriate. However, if the child will be with you indefinitely and will never live with their parent(s) again, then obtaining full custody will be more appropriate. Custody might also be more appropriate if you want to ensure the parent(s) of the child will not be able to take the child back.

The biggest difference between custody of a minor  and guardianship of a minor in Jacksonville, Florida is which court  has jurisdiction to reside over the proceedings and how permanent the ruling of the court to be. When you obtain custody of a minor child, the family law court resides over the proceedings and makes the final ruling. The court takes into account what is in the best interests of the child as well as whether the parents are capable of caring for the minor child. The final ruling can be temporary, meaning the parents can obtain the right to have their child back, or permanent where parental rights are terminated and the parents no longer have any rights.

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Exploitation of an elderly adult in Jacksonville, Florida is an all too often occurrence as well as across the entire state of Florida. Until recently, there was not much a person could do to stop it quickly when they suspected their elderly or vulnerable family member was being financially taken advantage of. This was a major problem. Before anything could be done to stop the exploitation, concrete evidence was required, and the money or asset that was taken, was too often unrecoverable by the time anything could actually be done. Thankfully, this is changing with the enactment of Florida Statute 825.1035.

Florida Statute 825.1035 allows for an injunction for the protection against the exploitation of an elderly adult or vulnerable adult. In order to get an injunction to stop the exploitation, the family member you believe is being financially exploited must be a vulnerable adult. In order to be considered a vulnerable adult for purposes of Florida Statute 825.1035, the individual must be 18 years or older, and be unable to perform normal activities required for daily living due to an impairment. The impairment can be because of a disability, injury, or aging. The Statute is meant to provide protection not only for elderly adults, but for any adult in Florida who could be financially taken advantage of due to any type of impairment. Continue reading

If you are a Court Appointed Guardian in  you may be concerned about the Responsibilities of a Court Appointed Guardian in Jacksonville, Fl. It is  important to understand the rights as well as the responsibilities when acting as a guardian in Florida. It does not matter if you are simply the guardian of a minor or the guardian of the person and property of an adult. Your responsibilities are numerous and are laid out by the Florida Probate Code.

In Florida, you must be represented by an attorney to become someone’s guardian no matter the situation. However, once appointed, there are a few limited circumstances where the Court may allow you to proceed pro se, without the representation of an attorney.

Guardianship of the Person

Estate planning has many benefits, with one of the best being that it allows our clients to have peace of mind.  This peace of mind comes from knowing that your family members can be taken care of if something happens to you.  This type of estate planning is especially important if you have minor children.

Parents are often so busy that they don’t have time to think about planning for their death or incapacity.  A parent’s time is often spent thinking about getting kids to school, helping with homework, and providing a good lifestyle for their children.  Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without warning, from an unexpected illness, on a highway, or as a result another catastrophe.

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Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Studies show that financial abuse of the elderly is a growing problem throughout the United States and especially here in Florida.  The overall population is aging, and persons over 65 years old control about one-third of the wealth in the United States.   This creates a big problem when you consider this group is much more susceptible to abuse due to health problems like dementia.

Estimates show that Americans loose nearly $3 billion a year due to financial abuse of the elderly from friends, loved ones, or even strangers.  This abuse comes in the form of financial abuse, scams, and other types of exploitation. The worst part is this type of financial abuse of the elderly is that it usually goes undiscovered until all an elder’s money is gone.

How To Protect Against Elder Abuse

A Senate Special Committee on Aging had a hearing in November of 2016, which allowed experts to testify that elder abuse is still a growing problem in the United States.  The experts testified that over 5 million elders, or one in ten seniors, that live at home experience some elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Jaye Martin, the executive director of Maine Legal Services for the Elderly, testified that not only is financial abuse (elder abuse) running rampant, but that the elder abuse is most often perpetrated by family members who are guardians.  This information regarding financial elder abuse was further supported by a report issued by the Government Accountability Office.
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According to recent censuses and polls, experts project Americans that are 65-and-older will double over the next three decades due to a large number of baby boomers.  This means the current population of 65 and older persons should explode from the current rate of 48 million to almost 90 million by 2050.  This is an impressive statistic, but also a worrying statistic because as the population of elders increases, so does the potential for elder abuse.

Florida has one of the highest percentages of elderly residents in the United States, which also means there are more older people that can be abused.

So how does fraud against the elderly occur in Florida?

Many Jacksonville Special Needs Trust Lawyers and estate planning lawyers are rejoicing at the fact that the law concerning special needs trusts is about to change for the better.  In Jacksonville, a special needs trust can be of the best tools available for many clients of Jacksonville Special Need Trust Lawyers because it gives a great number of benefits to those that suffer from a disability.

Congress and the president are on the verge of passing The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act.  This act will allow a disabled person to create a special needs trust for himself (a First Person Special Needs Trust).  Previously, the law did not permit a disabled person to form their own special needs trust.

Under the old law, the only way a person could receive a benefit of special needs trust was if he or she had a parent or grandparent, or court order to create the special needs trust.  In Jacksonville, special needs trust lawyers had to jump through costly hoops for those clients without living parents or grandparents.  The only way for these disabled persons to receive this trust is by giving another person guardianship rights or petitioning the court to create the trust.

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As of today, the answer is no you may not create your own Special Needs Trust, but the SNT Fairness Act may change that soon.  Under the current law you must have a guardian or court order to create a SNT for yourself.

Congress gave the estate planning community a great gift today when the Senate approved H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act by a vote of 94 to 5.  The bill is now seeking final approval from the current sitting President Barack Obama, and political experts predict the president will sign the bill before he exits office.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act on November 30 since time is running out with the current session of Congress.  Senator Glenn Thompson from Pennsylvania, who is the Fairness Act’s sponsor, hurried to find a legal avenue for the getting the act passed before lame-duck session of Congress ended.  Innovatively, he used the Cures Act, which is a lengthy $6.3 billion medical bill that bundles a wide variety of health care related.

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