In practice, we routinely deal with probates (concerning a decedent’s assets) and guardianships (concerning a ward unable to care for his person and/or property). A conservatorship is a lesser-known proceeding available to deal with the property of an absentee, or to care for or address judgments concerning an absentee’s family.
A recent federal case holds that the personal representative of an estate cannot waive the attorney-client privilege between a guardian and the guardian's attorney.
When a person is found incapacitated and placed under a guardianship, the exercise of some or all of that person’s rights are exclusively delegated to the guardian. That is, those rights which the court finds the person (ward) unable to personally exercise can only be exercised by the guardian. Thus, when a ward takes an action which he or she has lost the right to take, that act is typically void ab initio and treated by the courts as if it never happened.
Jeffrey Skatoff prevailed in a guardianship dispute in Palm Beach County, over the issue of less restrictive alternatives.
Most guardianship litigation is over who is entitled to control the financial affairs of an incapacitated senior. In some cases, the senior has previously executed a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy.
Attorney Brian Spiro prevailed in a highly contentious guardianship trial in Florida. The case was tried in the Probate/Guardianship/Mental Health Division of the Sarasota County Circuit Court.