When a loved one is deemed incompetent or unable to make decisions on their own behalf, it is important for family members to make arrangements to protect their legal right to care for their loved one should the state or another party wish to intervene. Without ensuring legal guardianship in Florida, in some cases, another entity could step in to take control. A father is currently fighting to maintain guardianship over his 18-year-old son who has been in a coma since a car accident in March 2011 left him with a brain injury.

The teenager was a passenger in a car that crashed while traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver lost control of the vehicle in wet road conditions. She was not seriously injured in the accident; however, her passenger was left in a coma. Since the crash, he has been deemed unable to make decisions for himself and thus in need of a guardian.

The father has been attempting to maintain legal guardianship over his son since he turned 18-years old. When his son turned 18, Medicaid coverage for him was denied and his medical bills just kept mounting stretching into the millions. However, the father recently secured Medicaid to pay for his son’s treatments at the hospital. Apparently the hospital has filed a motion to modify guardianship of the 18-year-old claiming his father is not meeting his financial obligations.

The court will likely grant guardianship according to the best interest of the teenager. As long as a petitioner can prove it is in the best interest of the person, he or she may be able to gain guardianship of that person. Since Medicaid came through for his son, the father is hopeful he does not have to attend a future court date in order to maintain his guardianship. For Florida families, gaining guardianship over loved ones who may not be able to make decisions in their own best interests, such as an elderly loved one with dementia, is an important step if they wish to ensure their loved one receives the appropriate care they need.