On many occasions, people have heard about guardianship, either of people with some type of disability, who cannot stand on their own, or about minors. In today's blog we will be explaining what it consists of. The explanations that we are going to offer in this blog constitute the current law of the state of Florida. If you reside in another state, contact an attorney in your area for advice. In Florida, guardianship is managing the daily matters and decisions of a person who is incapable of doing so for themselves. A person who is incapable or unable of making decisions is referred to as the ward. Typically, the law must provide, or the courts must determine that a person is incapable of managing their affairs before a guardian is appointed over them. For example, a person under the age of 18, a child, is presumed, by law, to be incapable of managing all aspects of daily living and of exercising all their rights. In this case, the child’s parents are the default and natural guardians of the child for most, but not all, aspects of the child’s life. The person who assumes the rights of the ward to make decisions about life is called the guardian. The law as it pertains to guardianship can be found in Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. There are many different types of guardianship. A guardianship can cover the Ward’s person or property or both. A guardianship can involve delegating some or all the ward’s delegable rights. Similarly, a guardianship can cover some or all the decisions that need to be made for the ward. Two or more people can become the guardian for a single ward. A single guardian can be appointed over several wards. A guardian is required by law, rules, regulations, and ethical considerations to make decisions that are in the ward’s best interests. In Florida, a person is qualified to serve as guardian if they are over the age 18 and are a Florida resident. If the person is not a Florida resident, then the person must be of direct descent to the ward; a legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the ward; a spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the ward, or someone with consanguinity to any such person; or the spouse of a person otherwise qualified above. No person who is a convicted felon can be a guardian. A person who, from any incapacity or illness, is incapable of performing their duties of a guardian can act as guardian. Usually, a person who wishes to commence a case to become the guardian of another must file a petition to determine incapacity, a petition for appointment of guardian, and an application for appointment as guardian. If a petition to determine incapacity is required, then the court will appoint an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person. The court will also appoint an examining committee that consists of three members to prepare reports and advise the court as to whether the person is incapacitated and if so, to what extent. If the court finds the person to be incapacitated, then the court will enter an order determining the person to be incapacitated and an order appointing guardian or co-guardians over the ward. Once a court appoints a guardian, there are several additional requirements. For example, if a family member is appointed as the guardian, then that family member will have to attend an eight-hour educational course that covers the basics of guardianship. In some cases, the court will require that a guardian open and account for a restricted bank account to deposit all the ward’s liquid assets. Guardians are required to provide an initial guardianship plan. Guardians are required to provide an annual accounting for all the ward’s assets. Lastly, all guardians must, at one point or another, submit to the court criminal and credit background checks to ensure that the ward is not at risk of being exploited. Is your loved one unable to make decisions for themselves? Is someone trying to exploit a person who is incapable of managing their daily affairs? Are you afraid that someone may hurt themselves or others? Call Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. today for a free initial consultation. Remember, at Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A., your problem is our problem.
Legal Disclaimer Any information made available by the lawyer or law firm is for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and general understanding of the law, NOT to provide specific advice. This does NOT create a relationship attorney-client between you and Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. This information should NOT be use as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.