Heather McInnis was born and raised in North Central Florida and is a graduate of the University of Florida and Fordham University School of Law. She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2007 and has represented clients in a variety of matters since that time, developing the proficiency to offer a wide range of civil legal services.
Her interest in serving the needs of aging adults, persons with limited or impaired mental capacity, and their loved ones led to the development of a practice increasingly focused on the related areas of inheritance planning and administration, fiduciary counseling and services, vulnerable adult protection, arrangements for the long term support of individuals with special needs, and the unique legal challenges faced by individuals and families in the context of developmental disability, age or illness related cognitive decline, dementia, mental illness, substance abuse, or brain injury.
Heather initially entered into incapacity and adult competency proceedings as a court-appointed attorney ad litem early in her legal career. She has since represented numerous allegedly incapacitated persons, guardians and guardian advocates in such proceedings, as well as litigating complex cases involving legal capacity, undue influence, fraudulent transfer of assets, and exploitation of elder or disabled adults. This experience has provided her with a perspective on inheritance and incapacity planning that contemplates future vulnerabilities for those planning early in life, while honoring the autonomy and dignity of clients already facing age-related limitations.
Heather was formally a Partner with Foreman McInnis & Bense, P.A., a full service law firm located in Lake City Florida, where she began her legal career as an associate. In 2018, she was proud to open a solo office in her hometown of Branford, limiting her primary practice to those areas of law in which she has developed deep competency, while also providing general legal counseling and services for her clients and local community. Recognizing that many clients must handle family legal matters from a distance, are on a fixed income, or may be facility or home bound, Heather has a client-oriented approach to legal services that is flexible to meet the needs of the individual situation. She believes in exploring all options so the client can make a fully informed decision in light of all circumstances, and in approaching each matter with both knowledge and creativity to accomplish the client's ultimate objectives.
Heather is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar and an Area Director and Board Member of the Florida State Guardianship Association. She is the appointed Public Guardian for Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit and the Director of the Public Guardianship Office serving indigent and abandoned incapacitated persons in the greater Gainesville area. In 2017, Heather founded AVA, Advocates for Vulnerable Adults, a non-profit organization with the purpose of supporting persons who have limited capacity or are legally incompetent and those who serve them in fiduciary capacities.
Nina Derringer has worked in legal services for more than fifteen years, and as legal assistant to Heather McInnis since 2008. Nina's family, originally from the Beachville, Florida area, returned to Branford, where Nina completed high school, following her father's retirement as a United States Air Force Master Sergeant. She continued to reside locally while working in a variety of administrative professional roles and raising four amazing children.