Practice Highlights - May 10, 2023

Successful Representation of Client in Guardianship Proceeding

Jones Foster litigation shareholder Peter A. Sachs and litigation attorney Melissa C. Steen served as counsel for the alleged incapacitated person in a guardianship proceeding in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. The alleged incapacitated person’s estranged son brought a petition to declare his mother incapacitated, and revoke her Durable Power of Attorney, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, and Declaration of Preneed Guardian (collectively, “Advanced Directives”) due to claims of lack of capacity and undue influence and petitioned for appointment as her guardian.

After a five-day bench trial, the Court ruled that the Advanced Directives are valid and denied the son’s petitions. The Court found the Designation of Healthcare Surrogate and Durable Power of Attorney appointing the client’s two daughters are lesser restrictive alternatives to guardianship and remain in full force and effect, and that the client competently designated her daughter as her preneed guardian.

About Peter A. Sachs

Peter is a Jones Foster board member and shareholder who represents individuals and institutions in the prosecution and defense of complex trust and estate, guardianship, and commercial litigation matters. He advises trust companies and banks regarding fiduciary duties as personal representatives and trustees under Florida law.

Peter is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) and is certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is double Board Certified by The Florida Bar in the areas of Civil Trial and Business Litigation.

About Melissa C. Steen

Melissa is a member of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Private Wealth, Trusts & Estates practice groups. She represents clients in litigation involving trusts and estates, guardianship, and fiduciary disputes, as well as commercial litigation matters.

Melissa is actively involved in several bar and industry organizations, including The Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section, the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Palm Beach County Chapter.

About Jones Foster

Jones Foster is a commercial and private client law firm headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Established in 1924, the Firm has served as an integral part of South Florida’s growth and prosperity for nearly a century. Through a relentless pursuit of excellence, Jones Foster delivers original legal solutions that help clients, colleagues, and the community to move forward. The Firm’s attorneys focus their practice in Real Estate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Private Wealth, Trusts & Estates, Corporate & Tax, and Land Use & Governmental. For more information, please visit