Abuse of Power of Attorney
Guardianships and Guardianship Litigation in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County and surrounding West Florida areas.
While the existence of a Power of Attorney is a defense to a formal guardianship, the abuse or mismanagement of the Power of Attorney is often the reason a guardianship is necessary. Far too often, the individual empowered as an incapacitated person’s attorney-in-fact is either unfit to serve, or even worse, is using their role as Power of Attorney to procure personal financial gain. It is also quite common that an unscrupulous family member, or any other person who might have access to the incapacitated adult, unduly influences the Ward into executing a Power of Attorney without any real understanding of the legal nature or effect of the document they are purportedly executing. Legal documents deriving from such undue influence are not valid, but it is typically up to the remaining family members to formally challenge the instrument before the Court.
While the guardianship litigation is pending, an interested person must file a verified statement stating that they have a good faith belief that said Power of Attorney (or Trust document) is invalid; and must state a reasonable factual basis for the good faith belief. If the verified statement is accepted by the Court, the Power of Attorney (or Trust document) will not be deemed to be a sufficient alternative to the appointment of a guardian.
If you are considering filing a guardianship, or are otherwise involved in pending guardianship litigation, please contact our office, as our attorneys routinely handle guardianships, contested guardianships and guardianship litigation in the courts of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County and the surrounding West Florida areas.