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What Is Guardianship?

What Is Guardianship

In Florida, Guardianship is the legal proceeding of being appointed Guardian to exercise legal rights on behalf of someone that lacks the capacity to do so themselves. Guardianship is designed to protect individuals that cannot make their own decisions about their persons and/or property. Common examples of individuals that may need Guardianship are those diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Developmental Disabilities, to name a few. Below are a few types of Guardianship proceedings that may be right for your loved one. Guardianship is governed by Florida Statutes, Chapter 744.

Plenary Guardianship

When a competent adult believes someone lacks the capacity to make decisions regarding their persons and property, they can petition the Court for Plenary Guardianship. In a lot of cases this will include elderly individuals diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. As a part of the process, the alleged incapacitated person (AIP) must be declared incapacitated by the Circuit Court. The court will appoint three examining committee members (licensed physicians) to conduct an evaluation on the AIP.  A hearing will be held to review the reports of the examining committees to determine whether Guardianship is appropriate over the alleged incapacitated person.

Guardianship Advocacy

It’s hard for parents to believe their child will one day be an adult, but once a child turns 18 years old, parents no longer have the ability to make important legal decisions for them. Guardianship Advocacy allows for parents and loved ones to continue making legal decisions on behalf of someone diagnosed with a developmental disability that manifests before the age of 18. The developmental disabilities include Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Spina Bifida, Downs Syndrome, Phelan-McDermis Syndrome, or Prader-Willi Syndrome, among others. Unlike Plenary Guardianship, a petition to determine incapacity of a developmentally disabled individual is not required.

Guardianship of a Minor

Guardianship of a minor is required under a few circumstances; one of them being the minor’s parents being unable to take care of the child due to death or becoming incapacitated themselves. Another is if a minor receives more than fifteen thousand ($15,000) dollars from either an inheritance or proceeds from a lawsuit or insurance policy.

Who may serve as Guardian?

Now that we know what Guardianship is, who can actually be appointed Guardian over someone? Any resident of the state of Florida that is at least 18 years of age may qualify to act as Guardian. In addition, a nonresident of Florida may also qualify to act as Guardian only if they are related to the alleged incapacitated person. However, Florida Statutes prohibits anyone that has been convicted of a felony to serve as Guardian, among other things.

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation!

Being appointed Guardian in Florida entails a lot of responsibility. If you believe that a loved one is in need of a Guardian and you want to discuss your options, please contact Gilbert Garcia Group for a free consultation where one of our experienced guardianship attorneys will walk you through the process and advise what is best for you.

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