Guardianship Appointment in Florida
If your family member or loved one becomes incapable of taking care of themselves, you might be considering asking the court to appoint them a Guardian. Florida law allows for the Court to appoint a surrogate decision-maker to make financial or personal decisions for incapacitated adults or minors.
How Does the State Determine Whether or Not Someone Needs a Guardian?
The Florida law sets forth the requirements to be qualified to serve as a Guardian. Florida Courts will appoint a Guardian for the following Wards:
- Incapacitated adults (over age 18)
- Minor children whose parents die or become incapacitated
- Minor children who have a claim exceeding $15,000.00.
In a Florida Voluntary Guardianship, the Court will appoint a Guardian for an adult who, though mentally competent, is not capable of fully managing his or her financial affairs. In a Voluntary Guardianship, an adult willingly petitions the Court to appoint a Guardian of his or her affairs.
In an Involuntary Guardianship, typically a friend or loved one petitions the Court to appoint a Guardian for an alleged incapacitated person. Before the Court can legally appoint a Guardian, two things must happen. First, there will be an adjudication hearing at which the Court will determine whether or not the person in question is incapacitated. If the examining committee determines someone is incapacitated, the Court will name a guardian and transfer the rights removed from the person in question to the guardian.
How Does Florida Determine Whether or Not An Alleged Incapacitated Person Is Incapacitated?
An Examining Committee determines whether or not the alleged incapacitated person is incapacitated. The committee reports its findings to the Court.
Next, the court holds an adjudication hearing at which any person may testify. If the Judge determines that the alleged incapacitated person does not lack capacity at the hearing, then the Guardianship process will end.
If the Judge determines that the person is incapacitated, then the Court will consider whether a Guardian is necessary or whether less restrictive options would suffice. If the Court appoints a Guardian, the Guardian signs an oath to conduct the duties of a Guardian faithfully. At this point, the alleged incapacitated person becomes a “Ward.” The Court also issues Letters of Guardianship that clearly state which rights have been delegated to the Guardian and removed from the Ward.
What Are the Duties of a Guardian?
The Court will state in the guardianship letters if the Guardian is a custodian of the person or the property or both. Guardians must file annual reports. Florida law requires that every year the Court considers whether the Court should restore the ward’s rights. Family Guardians are non-professionals who may act on behalf of a family member or friend. Professional Guardians receive compensation for their duties, and public guardians serve those with limited financial means.
Let Us Help You Today
Whether you are contesting a guardianship proceeding or you would like to seek out a guardianship on behalf of a family member or friend, we are here to help. Pompano Beach guardianship litigation attorney Mark R. Manceri has over 30 years of experience representing clients in guardianship proceedings. Contact us to set up your consultation today.