Probate & Guardianship
Frequently, family law issues can overlap with Probate, Trust, Estate, and Guardianship issues in certain cases. For example, when the parents of a child are divorced and one parent dies, a family court may have to revise a custodial order, including determining who will retain legal guardianship of the child, or who will administer that child’s inherited estate, particularly if the surviving parent is unfit to either care for a child, or is unqualified to responsibly administer the child’s property, or has adverse or competing financial interests to the child. Or, a spouse or child may be the beneficiary of an estate or trust, and the estate or trust has interests that need to be separately represented in a variety of contexts that have legal ramifications, such as in the event of divorce, or in determining alimony, child custody, or child support.
The Miami probate and guardianship litigation attorneys at Christy L. Hertz, P.A., litigate marital and family law matters within the context of Probate Estates and Guardianship issues. We represent Personal Representatives, Trustees, Beneficiaries, Guardians and/or Wards to litigate and resolve family law issues as expeditiously and cost-effectively as possible. Our experience as litigators of marital and family law matters, along with our experience in Estate and Guardianship matters, make us uniquely qualified to advocate for you in Florida family court.
Often, family court proceedings may require the involvement of Executors of an estate, Trustees of a trust, Beneficiaries under a will or trust, or legal guardians of a spouse or child in pursuing or defending important family law issues.
For example, guardianship issues can arise not just for minor children, but for any person who lacks the ability to act in his or her own interests, such as a person who is mentally or physically disabled. In legal terms, guardianship can mean having legal custody of an individual for the purpose of providing care, possessing the legal authority and obligation to care for the personal and property interest of a minor child or other person deemed legally incapacitated (who is called a ward), acting solely as guardian of an estate (bearing legal responsibility only for the property or financial interests of a ward), or acting as a guardian ad litem—that is, acting as the representative of a ward solely for the purposes of pursuing a particular piece of litigation.
While the parent or parents of an unmarried individual are generally considered an individual’s natural guardian, or, if the ward is married, a spouse, there are, unfortunately many circumstances in which a parent or spouse is not the best choice of a legal guardian for purposes of representing an individual in a family court proceeding, and a guardian must appear in family court to represent the ward. Thus, in the case of a minor child, if one of the parents has mental or physical disabilities, is incarcerated, or otherwise proves to be unfit or unable to represent the best interests of the child, a guardian may need to be appointed for the purposes of the family court proceeding so that the ward’s separate interests are represented adequately in that proceeding.
In other family law cases, an Executor (or Personal Representative) of an estate or the Trustee of a trust must represent the interests of the estate or trust separately in a family law proceeding, such as where a child or spouse is the beneficiary of a will or trust. Family members or other parties involved in a family court proceeding may have conflicts of interests that could adversely affect the separate interests of the Trust or Estate. Where these conflicting interests are present, the Personal Representative (or Executor), Trustee, Beneficiary, or Guardian may need separate legal representation in family court to make sure the specific obligations of that person’s legal duty are adequately represented, whether that involves proceedings involving divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, visitation, equitable distribution, domestic violence, pre–nuptial agreements, post–nuptial agreements, paternity, time-sharing, supervised time-sharing, or any other matter that may otherwise be addressed in family court.
These are just some of the difficulties, questions, and issues that can arise in family law that may involve the litigation and administration of probate and guardianship matters. In such cases, the Florida family law firm of Christy L. Hertz, P.A. can help you.
Miami family law attorney Christy L. Hertz, P.A., represents clients in Coral Gables and anywhere else in Miami-Dade County and the surrounding communities. If you need help with a family law matter that involves Probate and Guardianship litigation or administration, contact us using our online form, or call us at 305.444.3323.