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Guardianship Attorneys Assisting Clients

When a person cannot make legal decisions on their own, either because that person is an incapacitated adult or is a minor, a Florida court can appoint a guardian. Under Florida guardianship law, a guardian is defined as a person who has been appointed by the court to act on behalf of another person or their property, or in some cases both. If you have questions about becoming a guardian or about your responsibilities under Florida law, one of our attorneys can speak with you today.

What is a Guardian?

Depending upon the specific circumstances, a court might appoint a “limited guardian” who has specific powers to act on behalf of a person or their property if that person lacks some capacity to complete the tasks necessary for the care of themselves or their property, but they do not lack capacity altogether. The person who is the subject of a guardianship is known as the “ward.”

Guardians are appointed for minors who are persons under the age of 18, and for adults who the law identifies as an “incapacitated person.” According to Florida law, an incapacitated person is someone “who has been judicially determined to lack the capacity to manage at least some of the property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements of the person.”

In Florida, guardianships can be voluntary or involuntary. With a voluntary guardianship, an elderly or disabled adult might want help managing his or her affairs even though that person is mentally competent. In other words, a voluntary guardianship is one in which the person for whom a guardian will make decisions (the ward) is the person who petitions for the guardianship. An involuntary guardianship is one in which the person for whom a guardian will make decisions (the ward) does not seek or want the guardianship, but the court appoints a guardian due to incapacity.

What Does a Guardian Do?

A guardian of the person has the ability to make a variety of decisions on another person’s behalf concerning that person’s health care, residence, and general well-being. For example, a guardian of the person can make decisions about a person’s medical treatment, as well as decisions about whether a person should reside in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

A guardian of the property has the ability to manage the ward’s assets and real property, to enter into legal agreements on behalf of the ward, to seek benefits for the ward, and to enter into lawsuits when necessary.

How to Establish Guardianship

In order to become a guardian of an adult in Tampa, Florida, including a guardian for the person or property, the court will need to go through a series of steps that include the following:

  • Person seeking a guardianship files a Petition to Determine Incapacity (for an involuntary guardianship);
  • Person seeking a guardianship files a form for Petition and Order of Guardian;
  • If court determines a guardianship is appropriate due to incapacity or the ward’s needs with a voluntary guardianship, the court will issue an Order of Guardian;
  • Letters of Guardianship of the Person or Guardianship of the Property (and sometimes both) are issued;
  • Guardianship Plan is created and approved; and
  • Person is appointed as Guardian Advocate of the Person and/or Guardian Advocate of Property.

Contact a Guardianship Lawyer

When you have questions about guardianships under Florida law, you should seek advice from a guardianship attorney. Contact Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. for more information.

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