Individuals lacking the capacity to execute legal documents cannot sign releases settling claims against tortfeasors. Sometimes, families of developmentally disabled adults will execute Powers of Attorney to facilitate day to day transactions made on behalf of their disabled relative. Unfortunately, those Powers of Attorney are not legally valid, as the disabled principal lacks the requisite competency to execute the document. Therefore, you should not rely on Powers of Attorney in settling cases for adults with developmental disabilities.
Instead, the disabled individual’s family must secure legal guardianship before executing a release on behalf of their disabled family member. This process has the tangential benefit of providing actual legal authority for the family to make financial, residential, and medical decisions on behalf of the ward. Once guardianship is secured, the guardian should re-sign your fee agreement in their official capacity, and may then execute a settlement release.
Our firm has experience working with families to make the guardianship process painless and efficient. Call (352) 354-2654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime regarding guardianship or probate issues affecting settlements in the state of Florida.