Guardianship, Probate, Estate Planning
A guardian is an individual or institution, such as a bank trust department, appointed by the court to take care of an incapacitated person - called a "ward" - or for the ward's assets. A guardian must be represented by an attorney who will serve as "attorney of record". Any adult resident of Florida can serve as a guardian. A close relative of the ward who does not live in Florida may also serve as a guardian. A guardian who is given authority over any property of the ward must inventory the property, invest it prudently, use it for the ward's support, and account for it by filing detailed annual reports with the court. A guardian of the ward's person may exercise those rights that have been removed from the ward and delegated to the guardian, such as providing medical, mental and personal care services and determining the residential setting best suited for the ward. Pearson Huff has helped hundreds of families protect their loved ones in guardianships in Florida and should the need arise in your family, we would be happy to speak with you about your loved one's needs. Please contact us or see this pamphlet from The Florida Bar if you have any questions relating to guardianships.
Probate is generally a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering a deceased person's assets, paying taxes, claims and expenses of administration, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Probate assets are those assets that the deceased person owned in his or her sole name at death. Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the deceased person's probate assets to the deceased person's beneficiaries. The probate process is used whether a person dies with or without a valid will. The probate process may involve a Clerk of the Circuit Court, a Circuit Court Judge, a personal representative of the deceased person, the attorney engaged by the personal representative, those filing claims relative to debts incurred by the deceased person, and the Internal Revenue Service. Probate papers are filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, usually in the county in which the deceased person lived. The personal representative will be appointed by the court. If the deceased person had a valid will, the court will appoint the representative named in the will, barring a disqualification. If there was no valid will, the surviving spouse has the first right to be appointed, followed by the heir who is selected by a majority in interest of the deceased person's heirs. If the heirs cannot agree, the Court will hold a hearing to appoint a personal representative. Every personal representative should be represented by an attorney. The attorney for the personal representative advises the personal representative on the personal representative's rights and duties under the law, and represents the personal representative in estate proceedings. If the personal representative mis-manages the decedent's estate, the personal representative may be liable to the beneficiaries for any harm they may suffer. The staff of Pearson Huff takes pride in easing our clients' way through the probate process to protect not only the personal representative but the best interests of the beneficiaries as well. Please or see this pamphlet from The Florida Bar if you have any questions relating to .
Estate Planning is essential when deciding who receives your assets after you pass away. Estate planning can, and should, also include plans for who will manage your estate during your life if you are unable to do so yourself due to age or infirmity. Estate planning can include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care surrogate documents, living wills, and financial or tax planning, as well as preparing your loved ones for your eventual demise through education and planning. For more information please see this Florida Bar pamphlet on wills or this Florida Bar pamphlet on trusts.
ABOUT PEARSON HUFF
Pearson Huff, located in Plantation, Florida is a law firm serving primarily Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach Counties with a concentration on Florida Guardianship, Probate, Estate Planning, and Elder Law. We focus on guardianships for adults and children, probate and estate administration, estate planning, customized wills, powers of attorney, and living wills. When a loved one passes away in Florida, we represent family members, heirs, beneficiaries, and corporate fiduciaries in probate administration. In addition to customizing wills and trusts, we guide our clients through the process of creating durable powers of attorneys and healthcare documents, such as living wills and healthcare directives, which allow our clients to outline their wishes in advance and state who they would like to name as a representative to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated and unable to do so. Our staff prides itself on representing our clients with compassion, understanding, and legal expertise. We are continually striving for perfection in our goal of furthering our clients' legal needs, wishes, and objectives. For further information about our practice, please contact us today. Thank you for your interest in our firm.