Anything can happen in life, and nobody can accurately predict the future. An incapacitating injury can occur at anytime, in Florida or in any other state. When an adult suddenly becomes incapacitated, a court-appointed conservatorship is established in some circumstances where the individual is not able to manage their own affairs.

This is what happened to one woman after she fell at home and suffered a brain injury. The woman was found by the court to be incapable of caring for herself due to her injury. A probate judge approved a conservatorship for her in mid-Aug. 2008. She was placed under the car of a public guardian who then put the woman into a rehabilitation home.

However, during her stay in rehab, she suffered abuse at the hands of the staff. Instead of caring for the injured woman, she — along with other disabled residents — was forced to provide care for their fellow disabled adult residents. They were also ordered to clean business properties by the facility staff. The woman was reportedly unable to contact her conservator during this time.

After being released from conservatorship in Dec. 2010, the woman filed a civil lawsuit against the rehabilitation home and her conservator and was awarded over $23,000 for damages suffered as a result of her abuse. Although this woman ultimately achieved a measure of justice, this whole situation could have been avoided. With a power-of-attorney document as a part of a comprehensive estate plan, an adult in Florida or any other state can avoid being placed under conservatorship by the court. This legal document enables the adult to choose the person or entity he or she wishes to care for him or her in the case of incapacity.