Who Can Object To Something A Guardian Decides To Do?
It is a fact of life that family does not often agree with each other when it comes to major life decisions. The same is true when a family member is incapacitated, made a ward, and a guardian is appointed to carry on the ward’s affairs.
Disagreements and Standing
Regardless of whether the guardian is a family member or the ward or not, members of a family may disagree about decisions that the guardian makes, and want to challenge the guardian’s decisions. Since many decisions that the guardian makes for the ward need to be approved by the guardianship court, that leaves a lot of opportunity for the family to object.
But before the court will even consider the merits of the objection to something the guardian is doing, the court will ask whether the person objecting even has the right to object—that is, whether the person objecting has standing.
Who Has Standing?
For a long time, Florida law said that a ward’s next of kin always had standing to object to anything that a guardian may try to do. If you are the ward’s son, mother, brother, or other relative, and you didn’t agree that what the guardian was doing is in your family member’s (the ward’s) best interest, you could go to court and object.
But the law has gotten much tougher in the last few years. Now, simply being next of kin, by itself, doesn’t mean you have an automatic legal right to challenge something a guardian is doing.
Are You Interested?
Courts now require that the person objecting detail how he or she is affected by what the guardian is doing, or show that the objecting party has some stake in what is happening—a stake beyond just saying “the ward is my dad so I have standing.”
Note that because the test is that you are an interested party, it can open the door for non-family members to object to guardianship proceedings, or to object to decisions made by the guardian, as many things the guardian may decide, could affect non-family members as well.
You also can have standing if the Guardianship laws say that you get notice of a proceeding, such as a hearing, or if you have a legal right to object to anything that is done in a hearing-but those rights are not conferred on everybody, and not automatically conferred on people just because they are family.
We Don’t All Have Standing
This can be difficult; many times we object to a guardianship’s opinion just based on our own opinion of what is right or good for the ward, who is a parent or child or some close family member.
And yes, because the ward’s money the guardian may be allocating or spending may represent the eventual inheritances of family members, it gives family members and next of kin a beneficial interest in what the guardian is spending-although that doesn’t always mean that being the next of kin, or being entitled to an inheritance, will give you standing to object to anything in guardianship court.
Guardianship problem? We can help. Contact the Tampa guardianship lawyers at Gilbert Garcia Law Group, P.A. today.