Guardianship Law

Guardianship law is a legal process in which a person is appointed to make decisions on behalf of another person. Usually, a guardian is appointed to care for a child with special needs or an elderly parent who suffers from a mental disability such as dementia and is so no longer to make financial or healthcare decisions.

Who is a Guardian?

A guardian may be any family member of close friend. If you are a parent with a special needs child who is reaching the age of majority, you may qualify to be your child’s guardian. A guardian may also be a third-party professional. A person who wishes to be appointed as a guardian must first fill out a guardianship application and list his or her qualifications to be a guardian.

Appointment of a Guardian?

Before a court appoints a guardian, the court must first determine whether the person under the guardianship is incapacitated. This is completed through a physician committee selected by the court to examine the alleged incapacitated person’s disabilities. When an adult is determined incapacitated the court may then delegate certain rights to be carried out by the guardian. Note that the incapacitated person may lose the right to exercise all rights, depending on the severity of his or her incapacitation. The guardian is only authorized to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person regarding those delegated rights. Sometimes, a minor also requires guardianship over his or her property. This occurs when a minor child’s parents have passed away and the minor receives a settlement or inheritance of over $15,000. Florida law also lays out other circumstances where a minor guardianship may be necessary.

Duties of the Guardian and Rights of the Person Under Guardianship

A guardian is considered a fiduciary under Florida law. The appointed guardian has a legal obligation to act in accordance with the person under guardianship’s wishes and may not make decisions that are contrary to his or her best interest. Persons who are placed under guardianship should be given the chance to express their preferences regarding those decisions that affect their lives. Most importantly, persons under guardianship retain the right to have their rights restored back to them. Thus, persons under guardianship should be able to be as independent as possible, and the appointed guardian should have a plan that will help the person under guardianship achieve restoration of rights if possible. At the Florida Estate Planning Law Firm, we understand how intrusive the guardianship process can be. That is why working with an experienced Florida Guardianship attorney is important. Our goal is to understand your needs and goals and use our skills to help you reach a desirable outcome. Contact us today to discuss your situation and find out how we can help you throughout the Guardianship process.

Incapacity and Guardianship are very specialized areas of law with very few practitioners. Contact us today to speak with an experienced guardianship attorney and discuss the options that are best for your and your loved ones.

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