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October 10

What is Guardianship in Florida?

Written by Thomas Upchurch , , ,

Protect Your Family by Understanding Guardianship in Florida

Having a better understanding of guardianship in Florida can help you make better decisions for your loved ones. Learn more about Florida guardianship so you’re prepared when you need it.

What Is Florida Guardianship?

Guardianship, or a guardian, is a decision-maker appointed by the Florida courts to make personal, legal, and financial decisions for a minor or an adult with mental or physical disabilities. This is common for children of deceased parents or for the elderly when they can no longer care for themselves and their health or safety is at risk.

A guardian can be an individual or an institution, such as a bank trust department or nonprofit corporation, appointed by the Florida courts to care for an individual. The individual is referred to as a “ward” and their legally appointed guardian cares for the individual and their assets.

How Do You Achieve Guardianship Over an Individual?

Guardianship is appointed through the courts for incapacitated adults who are determined to be unable to manage themselves or their property. An adult can file a petition with the court to consider an individual incapacitated and incapable of properly caring for themselves.

Under Chapter 744 of the Florida Statues, the court will determine this by appointing a committee including at least two physicians and another person with knowledge, training, and skills to form an expert opinion. At least one member must have experience with the incapacity in question. The examination typically includes a physical exam, mental health exam, and a functional assessment.

The courts can appoint an attorney to represent the individual or they may choose their own lawyer. If the majority of the committee determines an individual isn’t incapacitated, the judge will dismiss the petition. If the committee determines otherwise, a hearing will be scheduled to decide the extent of incapacitation.

A guardian is appointed by the courts when an individual is found to be partially or fully incapacitated unless less restrictive alternatives to guardianship are available.

Who Can Be a Legal Guardian in Florida?

Any adult Florida resident (related or unrelated to a potential ward) can serve as a guardian. Relatives of the ward who don’t live in Florida may also serve as a guardian. Guardianship is not extended to people with convicted felonies or those who cannot carry out the duties of a guardian.

Institutions such as nonprofit corporations and bank trust departments can only act as a guardian for property. Guardianship is not appointed in some cases with conflicts of interest.

To become a guardian, the court will evaluate if you can meet the requirements of Florida guardianship. It’s a guardian’s responsibility to take care of the ward by safeguarding their rights, preserving their dignity, and improving their quality of life.

Accountability and Guardianship

Guardians are held accountable for their actions and responsibilities. If they don’t properly carry out their duties and responsibilities, they may be removed by the court. A guardian may also resign by providing notice to the court.

In addition, if a ward recovers, a petition can be filed to restore their rights. A reexamination may be required to restore some or all of the ward’s rights.

Do you have questions about guardianship in Florida? An experienced attorney can help represent and advise guardians on technical procedural and financial matters relating to the court. At Upchurch Law, we have years of experience helping guardians and wards in Florida. Call us at (386) 320-6169 today or submit your contact information online to learn how we can help you.

Source: New Posts