Jacksonville Guardianship Attorneys and Lawyers and Florida Guardianship Law
FLORIDA GUARDIANSHIP LAW FAQs
If you need assistance seeking to establish a Florida guardianship for your parent or loved one who has become incapacitated and is no longer able to manage their own affairs, in Jacksonville, Duval County, or Northeast Florida, please contact your experienced Jacksonville lawyer for guardianship at 904-448-1969, or toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheColemanLawFirm.net.
The following information explains Florida guardianship law, who is subject to a guardianship, who can be appointed as a guardian, and how the guardianship works after it is established. In addition to incapacitated adults, Florida guardianship law requires that any minor child who is entitled to receive or receives property valued at more than $15,000 shall be subject to a guardianship of the property of a minor child. The experienced guardianship lawyers and attorneys at The Coleman Law Firm in Jacksonville, Florida, have extensive experience representing guardians for both incapacitated adults and for the property of a minor child.
1. WHAT IS A GUARDIANSHIP?
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit courts of Florida in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated person. The Florida guardianship may be limited in its scope (a limited guardianship), or the guardianship may be for the purpose of totally taking care of the person and property of the incapacitated person (a plenary guardianship). Under Florida guardianship laws, the guardian may be appointed only to take control of the property of the incapacitated person (a guardian of the property), or only to take control of the person of the incapacitated person (a guardian of the person). After the appropriate FL guardianship forms are filed with the guardianship court, the assigned judge holds a hearing to determine whether the person is actually incapacitated.If you need the assistance of an experienced Florida guardianship attorney in the Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida area to help you with your family member or loved one who has become incapacitated, please call us toll free at 1-866-510-9099.
2. WHAT IS A GUARDIAN?
A guardian is an individual or institution such as a bank trust department appointed by the court to care for an incapacitated person – called a “ward”- or for the ward’s assets.
3. HOW IS A PERSON DETERMINED TO BE INCAPACITATED?
Any adult, with the assistance of a Florida guardianship lawyer or attorney, may file with the Florida guardianship court the FL guardianship forms including a petition to determine another person’s incapacity setting forth the factual information upon which they base their belief that the person is incapacitated. The Florida court of guardianship then appoints a committee of two professionals, usually physicians, and a lay person to examine the person and report its findings to the guardianship court. The court also appoints a Florida guardianship attorney to represent the person alleged to be incapacitated (called the “attorney ad litem”). If the examining committee concludes that the alleged incapacitated person is not incapacitated in any way, the court will dismiss the petition. If the examining committee finds the person to be incapable of exercising certain rights, however, the court schedules a hearing to determine whether the person is totally or partially incapacitated. A plenary guardian of the person and property is usually appointed at the end of the incapacity hearing. If you need the assistance of a Florida guardianship lawyer to establish the incapacity of your family member or loved one, please call us at 904-448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us atInfo@TheColemanLawFirm.net.
4. WHO MAY SERVE AS GUARDIAN?
According to Florida guardianship laws, Any adult resident of Florida can serve as a guardian. A close relative of the ward who does not live in Florida may also serve as a guardian. Persons who have been convicted of a felony or who are incapable of carrying out the duties of a guardian cannot be appointed. Institutions such as a bank trust department, a nonprofit religious or charitable corporation, or a public guardian, can be appointed guardian, but a bank trust department may only act as guardian of the property. The Florida court of guardianship gives consideration to the wishes expressed by the incapacitated person in a written declaration of preneed guardian or at the hearing.
5. WHAT DOES A GUARDIAN DO?
Pursuant to the Florida law of guardianship, a guardian who is given authority over any property of the ward shall inventory the property, invest it prudently, use it for the ward’s support, and account for it by filing detailed annual reports and other required FL guardianship forms with the Florida guardianship court. In addition, the guardian must obtain court approval for certain financial transactions.
The guardian of the ward’s person may exercise those rights that have been removed from the ward and delegated to the guardian, such as providing medical, mental and personal care services and determining the place and kind of residential setting best suited for the ward. The guardian of the person, through his or her Florida guardianship lawyer, must also present to the court every year a detailed plan for the ward’s care.
6. IS A GUARDIAN ACCOUNTABLE?
Yes. Guardians must be represented by a Florida guardianship attorney who will serve as “attorney of record.” Guardians are usually required to furnish a bond and may be required to complete a court-approved training program. The Clerk of the Court reviews all annual reports of guardians of the person and property and presents them to the court for approval. A guardian who does not properly carry out his or her responsibilities may be removed.
7. IS GUARDIANSHIP PERMANENT?
Not necessarily. If a person recovers in whole or part from the condition that caused him or her to be incapacitated, the guardianship court will have the ward reexamined and can restore some or all of the person’s rights.
8. IS GUARDIANSHIP THE ONLY MEANS OF HELPING AN INCAPACITATED PERSON?
No. Florida law requires the use of less restrictive alternatives to protect persons incapable of caring for themselves and managing their financial affairs whenever possible. If a person creates an advance health care directive and a durable power of attorney or revocable living trust while competent, he or she may not require a guardian in the event of incapacity. An experienced Florida guardianship lawyer or attorney can help you decide whether a guardianship is the most appropriate action for you and your loved ones.
9. WHAT ABOUT GUARDIANS FOR MINORS?
A child’s parents are the child’s natural guardians and in general may act for the child. In circumstances where the parents die or become incapacitated or if a child receives an inheritance or proceeds of a lawsuit or insurance policy exceeding $15,000, the court mustappoint a guardian of the property of the minor child to protect the child’s property. Both parents or a surviving parent may make and file with the Clerk of the Court a written declaration naming a guardian of the child’s person or property to serve if both parents die or become incapacitated. A guardian may also be designated in a will in which the child is a beneficiary. When the minor child for whom the guardianship of the property has been established reaches 18 years of age, the court is required by Florida law to turn over to the 18 year old all of the assets in the guardianship.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FLORIDA GUARDIANSHIP LAW:
For more information about Florida guardianship law, or for assistance with a guardianship proceeding, please contact your Jacksonville lawyer for guardianship, the Jacksonville guardianship attorneys and lawyers at 448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099 FREE, or email The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC.
This material represents general legal advice. Since Florida guardianship law is continually changing, some provisions in this article may be out of date. It is always best to consult an experienced Jacksonville Florida guardianship lawyer or attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.