A medical event such as a stroke, heart attack or the onset of dementia can happen quickly without any warning, and it can result in an inability to make life decisions. For this reason, the pre-selection of a guardian — one who is responsible and capable of making sound decisions on your behalf — is a vital part of your Florida estate plan.
There are questions you must ask, though, before any decisions about a potential guardian are made. For example, do you know without doubt that your potential guardian is honest and reliable and will always act with integrity? Has your guardianship candidate been convicted of a crime? In some cases, convicted felons cannot serve as guardians.
Also, how well does your guardian handle his or her own life affairs and does your guardian have the necessary life experience to handle your affairs successfully? If your guardian is an 18-year-old grandchild, this could be problematic because he or she will not likely have experience with investment accounts, insurance or paying bills — nor will he or she have the necessary life experience to make medical and other decisions on your behalf.
Other important considerations involve the health of your guardianship candidate. Will he or she be healthy enough to handle your affairs? Guardians cannot be disabled or incapacitated themselves.
No one ever wants to think about a time when they could become incapacitated and unable to make a decision for themselves. However, it is best to think about such circumstances now before it is too late. Indeed, through an appropriately drafted will, a medical directive and a durable power of attorney, Florida residents can dictate what they want to happen in the event they are incapacitated in this fashion. They can even name a secondary and tertiary guardian just in case the primary guardian is unable to or cannot fulfill that role.
Source: FindLaw, “Ten Things to Think About: Choosing a Guardian” Oct. 07, 2014