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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13868
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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What do we need to do if an adult child is suddenly

Customer Question

Hi Pearl..What do we need to do if an adult child is suddenly incapacitated without any power of attorney and there is no money. The state is Florida. The 47 year old had a massive stroke and will need long term care. She is single and was living with her mother
JA: Can you tell me what state this is in? And just to clarify, what paperwork has been filed?
Customer: Florida
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No...
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: There is no money for an attorney, I would like to help the mother by drafting online papers for whatever is needed. Daughter is not capable of signing papers
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon,

I am very sorry to hear about this. In this situation, a petition for guardianship would have to be filed. A guardian is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make either personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities. After adjudication, the subject of the guardianship is termed a "ward."

Adult guardianship is the process by which the court finds an individual's ability to make decisions so impaired that the court gives the right to make decisions to another person. Guardianship is only warranted when no less restrictive alternative—such as durable power of attorney, trust, health care surrogate or proxy, or other form of pre-need directive—is found by the court to be appropriate and available.

Florida law allows both voluntary and involuntary guardianships. A voluntary guardianship may be established for an adult who, though mentally competent, is incapable of managing his or her own estate and who voluntarily petitions for the appointment.

Florida law provides for limited as well as plenary adult guardianship. A limited guardianship is appropriate if the court finds the ward lacks the capacity to do some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property; and if the individual does not have pre-planned, written instructions for all aspects of his or her life. A plenary guardian is a person appointed by the court to exercise all delegable legal rights and powers of the adult ward after the court makes a finding of incapacity. Wards in plenary guardianships are, by definition, unable to care for themselves. It definitely sounds like in this situation that a plenary guardianship would be necessary.

Per Florida law (probate code section 5.030) guardianship requires the involvement of an attorney. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs suggest that people looking to see if themselves or family members are eligible for assistance in programs call the Elder Hotline at 1800-96-ELDER (1***-***-****), so I would suggest you start there to see what can be offered for this young lady and her family. A list of services and agencies can be found here.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
FYI. There is no insurance
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

She may be eligible for adult medicaid or something similar. The DOEA will know how best to assist. Although it is called "Elder Affairs" they will still be able to help. The family can also check with their county bar association to see if they have any pro-bono guardianship attorneys who will offer guardianship assistance for free to get the petition for guardianship prepared and filed so that a guardian may be appointed by the court.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Do you have any idea how much this court process will cost ?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

While attorney fees are going to obviously vary from firm to firm, through a private attorney, I would expect it to be at least $5,000, and that's on the low end.

That's why I suggested calling the county bar association to see if they had referrals to any pro-bono attorneys in the county who may assist, and calling the 1800 # I previously gave you to see if they have resources that can help as well.