Navigating Guardianship During COVID-19


It has been a little over a year since COVID-19 began impacting lives all over the world, and no one could have anticipated the severity or ripple effects that it would have on economies, health, schools, governments, etc.

As experts learned more about the virus, the elderly population or those with underlying and pre-existing health conditions, were determined to be at highest risk. Though community leaders put policies and lock downs in place to help mitigate and lessen the spread of the virus, it made navigating guardianship much more challenging.

Guardianship can be a complex balancing act in an effort to provide the best care for wards, or those who are no longer able to sufficiently care for themselves.

COVID-19 spurred additional guardianship challenges with locked-down nursing homes, virtual court hearings, medical examination changes and more.


NAELA Perspectives on COVID-19

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is made up of experienced lawyerswho are trained to work with a variety of legal challenges that elderly and disabled individuals face.

To bring light to the many challenges of guardianship during COVID-19, NAELA published perspectives from guardianship attorneys around the U.S, including Audra Simovitch.


5 Key Takeaways About Florida Guardianship During COVID-19

Below are five key Florida takeaways Audra Simovitch mentions in the publication.

  1. Courts in Florida shut down except for in-person hearings on essential cases, such as emergency cases of involuntary commitment to mental institutes or addiction centers. Guardianships do not qualify as essential cases, and counties have varied processes in how obtaining a guardianship would be achieved.
  2. Hearings became virtual which presented challenges such as having the individual alleged to be incapacitated appear on the video call.
  3. Another significant issue presented by the pandemic was how to conduct the mental health examination as required under Florida statute. Three members of an examining committee are required to do an in-person examination as to the medical and mental ability of an individual and the individual’s ability to participate in their everyday living needs. In addition, based on the report, the committee member must select which rights to take away from the alleged incapacitated person.
  4. Certain counties stopped health examinations completely.
  5. While there may be appellate issues arising out of the procedures being used at this time, the courts have adapted very quickly and efficiently. As a matter of practicality, not having to drive to every courthouse has saved time, money, and the environment.

Click here to view the complete article.

If you or a loved one needs assistance filing for guardianship or help navigating the process during these challenging times, The Law Office of Audra Simovitch can help. Contact us today to learn how.

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to