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New bill seeks to amend guardianship rules

Guardianship can be both big business and big trouble in Florida, and a new bill heading to the governor's desk aims to help some of the state's most vulnerable residents. However, the issues at hand are far from simple, and the bill has both supporters and detractors. Critics of the bill worry that the new bill may allow vulnerable wards to suffer if the individuals given responsibility to care for them are given less oversight, while it's supporters say that the new changes keep the incapacitated person from footing the bill for unnecessary legal costs.

Under the current system, guardianship entails a board of three members who must investigate the state of the ward and issue a determination as to whether the individual requires guardianship. Now, a recent case established that reports that are not personally delivered to the court by all three board members may be considered hearsay.

To combat this problem, the bill proposes to eliminate the requirement that board members physically deliver their findings to a court. While this may avoid future hearsay claims, it does also create room for other issues. It remains to be seen how the governor will respond.

If you are considering placing a loved on under guardianship, it is crucial to do so with proper legal counsel. There are numerous ways that the process can get messy, and it is always wise to put redundancy measures in place to ensure that the rights of the individual placed in guardianship is not taken advantage of and does not see their rights and dignity violated.

Source: WFSU.org, "Guardianship Fix Heads To Governor's Desk," Kate PAyne, April 18, 2017

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