Differences Between Voluntary and Involuntary Guardianships in Florida
A guardian is someone the Court appoints to make decisions for a child or an incapacitated adult. The person who needs a guardian is known as a Ward. A guardianship position carries a great deal of responsibility as their decisions affect the Ward’s financial and personal affairs. The appointment of a guardian can be voluntary or involuntary.
If you need a guardian appointed or want to oppose the appointment, you need an experienced Pompano Beach guardianship litigation attorney who can help.
What is Voluntary Guardianship?
Voluntary guardianship is where someone is mentally competent and can appoint someone as their own guardian. In this example, perhaps a parent would petition the court to appoint a guardian. The court could discuss potential guardian options with the parent and then confer before making a final ruling on appointment.
Alzheimer’s is a growing problem in the United States. Voluntary guardianship allows someone to choose their own guardian in the early stages, long before the disease progresses and requires the appointment of a guardian.
When an involuntary guardianship is involved, it means the Ward is unable to make decisions on their own behalf. They need someone who can look after their financial and personal affairs. In this scenario, maybe the Ward could be a parent who has dementia. They lack the mental capability to understand what guardianship is and what kind of impact it would have on their lives. In that case, the court would not allow the parent to appoint someone as their guardian. Instead, the court would schedule a hearing and select a guardian for them. The court would also be the one who sets the rights and limitations of the guardianship.
Types of Guardianship
In addition to voluntary or involuntary, there are three main types of guardianship. These are:
Guardian of the Person: This is when someone would have the legal authority to make decisions that relate to the Ward’s daily tasks and personal matters. Some decisions might include what doctor they will treat with or where they will live.
Guardian of the Property: This guardianship would only have the authority to make decisions that involve the Ward’s finances or estate. Some decisions might include which bills need to be paid, should an asset be sold, how to handle the Ward’s investment accounts, etc.
Plenary Guardianship: When a Ward cannot make personal or financial decisions, they would require a plenary guardian. The plenary guardian would then be the one who makes all decisions on behalf of the Ward.
What Rights Does the Ward Have?
When someone files a petition, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the possible Ward and, if necessary, object on behalf of the Ward. Once the court appoints a guardian, the law grants the Ward specific rights. One of these is the right to have the Guardianship Plan reviewed on an annual basis. Other rights include the regular review on whether a guardian is necessary, and the right to be as independent as possible. Guardians must treat their Wards with respect and dignity, properly manage their assets, and faithfully carry out all duties per the court’s order.
Contact a Florida Guardianship Litigation Lawyer
If you need assistance with guardianship in Florida, let Mark R. Manceri, P.A. help you. We have over 30 years representing people in guardianship hearings. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.