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Department of Elder Affairs Issues Guidance for Guardians in Light of COVID-19

March 31, 2020

By: Melody Lynch

On March 30, 2020, the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) issued Emergency Order No. 20-01 relating to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. DOEA’s guidance falls in line with order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 9 declaring a state of emergency in Florida due to COVID-19 (No. 20-52), as well as the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) Order (No. 20-006), restricting individuals from visiting certain state facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other like facilities described in the DEM Order.

In its order, the DOEA suspends the requirement enumerated in Section 744.2103(6), Florida Statutes, that public and professional guardians must visit their wards in person at least once a quarter if the ward is residing in a facility where visitation is restricted due to the COVID-19 response. The DOEA assures its public and professional guardians that they must adhere to all guidance pertaining to the COVID-19 emergency.

Moreover, the order advises that all guardians will have thirty (30) days following the lifting of Governor DeSantis’ Order (No. 20-52) to personally visit any wards that were not visited during the preceding quarter as a result of COVID-19 closures or restrictions.

If you have questions regarding an existing guardianship or need to establish a guardianship for a loved one, please contact Melody Lynch at 407-418-6447  or

Be sure to visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team page to keep up to date on the latest news.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

Melody Lynch focuses her practice on probate, trust & fiduciary litigation, contested guardianships, and complex business disputes. Her MBA complements her law degree when she analyzes financial statements and handles other complicated issues involving assets. 

A significant portion of Melody’s practice is devoted to resolving conflicts among family members and other estate beneficiaries, fights over missing assets and property ownership, claims by or against fiduciaries, guardianship challenges, and other proceedings requiring the interpretation of wills and trusts. She frequently helps charitable organizations, foundations, trustees and other institutional beneficiaries of large estates navigate the probate process. Whether in or out of the courtroom, Melody handles these delicate – and often emotional – issues not just with legal proficiency but with compassion as well.  

Melody’s experience extends to other business disputes too, particularly in the employment law arena with matters involving restrictive covenants as well as non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. She has protected employers in a wide range of industries, including medical devices, pest control, physicians and physician practices. 

In addition, she is a Guardian ad Litem for the Legal Aid Society where she represents the interests of abused and neglected children. She also is a pro bono attorney for Seniors First where she represents the interests of indigent elderly wards. 

The court room isn’t the only stage on which Melody has appeared. Before pursuing her career in law, Melody attended college on a ballet scholarship and was an apprentice dancer with a professional ballet company. A native of Orlando, her passion for both the arts and the area informs her leadership roles in the Central Florida community. She serves as president-elect of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, was named to the prestigious Orlando Business Journal’s "40 under 40" list, and was awarded the Presidential Leadership Award by the Orange County Bar Association. 


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