J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Who might be a good candidate for guardianship?

Asset distribution is the best known reason for formulating an estate plan, but it isn't the only reason. There are many other reasons to put together an estate plan. One of these is to pre-select a guardian for oneself in case one is disabled or incapacitated. A guardian is the person who makes important decisions on behalf of a disabled or incapacitated person.

It's never too early for a Florida resident to think about who might make a good guardian. There are a number of considerations that should be taken into account when pre-selecting a guardian for oneself. First, does the candidate have a reputation for integrity, honesty and timeliness? Do they manage their own personal matters in a responsible manner? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, the candidate may have the makings of a good guardian.

Another thing to think about is whether the candidate has professional, business or educational experience that indicates they could perform the duties of a guardian. A good track record with the necessary duties is a definite plus. The candidate should also have the time to devote to the duties of guardianship. A candidate likely wouldn't do a very good job if they have little time to dedicate to being a guardian.

If possible, a guardian should be pre-selected who is closely related to the person to be protected. This is partly because courts look favorably on selecting guardians who are close relatives of the people to be protected. Also, it is very likely that close relative would put the necessary effort into the job.

Choosing a guardian may be part of advanced estate planning. A thoroughly trained estate planning attorney can be quite helpful for this.

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