Property Damage Insurance Claims
The reporting and handling of an insurance claim can be a complicated process. There are many rights and responsibilities that you have as a property owner when your property is damaged by a fire, hurricane, plumbing break, vandalism, or other type of loss. Failure to comply with your responsibilities under the insurance policy could result in the insurance company denying an otherwise covered claim. These responsibilities could include, but are not limited to, providing a recorded statement to your insurance company, providing your insurance company with documents that they request, and appearing for an examination under oath. The insurance company will have experienced attorneys and adjusters working for them, so it is important that you have someone looking out for you.
Insurance policies can be different depending on your insurance company and the coverage options you selected when you applied for insurance. Your insurance policy could have exclusions or limitations that could affect your ability to be compensated for the full amount of your loss. It is important that you have someone helping you who understands how an insurance policy works and what potential issues could arise with your specific insurance policy.
Our firm has extensive experience in assisting owners of damaged property through the insurance claim process. We can assist you in reporting the claim, negotiating the amount of the claim with your insurance company, and even filing a lawsuit on your behalf if your insurance company denies or underpays your claim. If your claim has already been denied or you feel that you were not fully compensated for your loss we can still assist you in recovering what you should have been paid. If you recently had a loss or filed an insurance claim, we welcome you to contact us to discuss how we can assist you during this process.
Obtaining legal authority to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Becoming someone’s guardian is a big responsibility and can be an emotionally complicated step for you to take as a family member. As challenging as it may be, it is important to ensure that your loved one’s affairs are properly cared for when they are unable to handle their own affairs. We can review your situation to determine if establishing a legal guardianship is actually necessary and, if so, can help you through the process with compassion and attention to your needs and concerns.
When is a guardian needed?
Establishing a legal guardianship may be appropriate and necessary to protect your loved one under several circumstances:
Special Needs Guardianship — A child who turns 18 is presumed by law to be capable of handling his or her affairs. If, however, your adult child is unable to manage his or her life because of a disability or mental illness, establishing a guardianship may be necessary.
Elderly Guardianship — Elderly relatives who are beginning to lose their mental faculties or become physically disabled often need a guardianship. If you have an adult relative no longer able to handle his or her affairs and who has not executed a durable power of attorney, establishing a legal guardianship in court may be your only option for gaining the authority you need to manage those affairs.
For Other Relative Minor Children — When a parent is no longer able to adequately care for his or her child — for example because of mental illness, physical disability, hospitalization, incarceration, or death — establishing legal guardianship is one of the options relatives have for ensuring that child receives proper care. A parent can consent to short-term guardianship without the need for court intervention. Long-term guardianship or guardianship against the parents’ wishes, however, requires a court proceeding.
The Guardianship Process
The process can vary depending on whether there is an emergency which needs immediate intervention, or if the guardianship can proceed through the normal proceedings. Emergency guardianships are most appropriate when emergency medical decisions must be made on behalf of an incapacitated person or to prevent someone from taking financial advantage of an incapacitated person.
When establishing a legal guardianship, a court proceeding is required during which it must be shown that the circumstances warrant establishing legal guardianship. This requires the attorney to file a petition with the court to determine that the person needing a guardianship is, in fact, incapacitated. The court may determine that all the rights of the incapacitated person need to be granted to the guardian. This is known as a plenary guardianship. However, the court may decide that an incapacitated person may retain some rights including the right to vote, marry, drive a car, maintain employment, etc. This is known as a limited guardianship.
Seeking a guardianship is an extreme step that should only be taken if absolutely necessary. If you are concerned about your loved one’s ability to manage his or her affairs, we can help you examine your options to determine whether setting up a legal guardianship is the best course of action. If so, our guardianship lawyers can then help you work through the necessary court process.