Does the Incapacitated Person in a Florida Guardianship Proceeding Have the Right to Hire a Lawyer?
Are you involved in a guardianship in Florida? Are you facing a guardianship hearing in West Palm Beach or Miami? Do you need an experienced guardianship lawyer? Has your right to contract been taken away from you in a guardianship proceeding? If you are facing an incapacity proceeding, but have not yet been determined to be incompetent, can you hire your own Florida lawyer? What if you already HAVE been deemed incapacitated by the Florida guardianship court? You may want to read a recent Third DCA opinion, Jacobsen v. Busko.
A person has a right to hire their own lawyer at any time unless it has been determined, by a probate judge, that he or she is not competent to do so. This means that, an ALLEGED incapacitated person can choose to hire whichever lawyer they wish, even if a different one is appointed. However, once a person is officially deemed to be incapacitated, it all changes.
Here, a ward who was officially deemed incapacitated, and who was appointed a guardian to represent her interests, decided to reach out to a lawyer to hire him. However, when the lawyer filed a motion seeking authorization to represent the ward in the Florida guardianship proceeding, the trial court denied the motion. On appeal, the Third DCA acknowledges that section 744.3215(1)(1) of the Florida Statutes does give the ward right to counsel. However, when the ward was deemed incapacitated, she lost her right to contract and, therefore, cannot hire the lawyer she wanted. Instead, the ward’s guardian can choose which lawyer to hire on behalf of the ward.
To read the entire case, click here. To interview a Florida guardianship lawyer, free of charge, call (561)514-0900 Ext.101.