When a guardianship is established over an individual, another adult is granted the right and responsibility of overseeing the individual’s day to day life, medical care, financial decisions, and making any other significant decisions that the individual cannot make for him- or herself. Many individuals voluntarily appoint loved ones to take on guardianship roles when such protection becomes necessary.
Sometimes, though, an individual attempts to establish a guardianship for another adult without that adult’s consent. This may be done out of concern for the adult without realizing that he or she is capable of living independently or it can be done in an attempt to gain control over the individual and his or her assets. This is done with a Petition for Appointment of Guardian and a Petition to Determine Incapacity. If you are notified that these petitions have been filed citing you as potentially incapacitated, start working with an experienced guardianship lawyer who can represent you and help you demonstrate your mental capacity to the court during your adjudication hearing.
Adjudication Hearing to Establish Competence
Before this hearing, the court establishes a committee to review the alleged incapacitated person’s (AIP) cognitive abilities. The committee evaluates the individual and reports their findings to the court. At the adjudication hearing, the committee’s findings are considered alongside testimonies from individuals close to the AIP who can discuss his or her capacity to exercise his or her civil rights. The committee may also present an expert witness who can discuss the individual’s capacity to aid the court in its decision.
If the court finds that the individual is capable of continuing to make all of his or her own decisions, the case is over. If not, the court must then determine the individual’s level of incapacity and an appropriate way to address it. The court is required to find the least restrictive option for an AIP, so if an option like granting power of attorney to a loved one can cover his or her needs, this may be done instead of establishing a guardian. The court may also determine that a limited guardianship is the most appropriate choice.
Demonstrating your Capacity
Your lawyer can help you develop a strategy to demonstrate your capacity to continue to live without a guardian during your adjudication hearing. This may involve the use of documents showing your ability to manage your finances effectively as well as testimony from individuals like your doctor and your loved ones.
Work with an Experienced Winter Park Guardianship Attorney
If you are a mentally competent individual who is being wrongly considered for a guardianship, you can stand up for your rights and fight the proceeding with help from an experienced guardianship attorney. Contact The Law Offices of Aubrey Harry Ducker, Jr., PLC today to schedule your initial consultation in our office. We can answer your questions and help you determine the best strategy for fighting an involuntary adult guardianship proceeding to retain your independence.