Guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian exercises the legal rights of an incapacitated person. A guardian is an individual or institution appointed by the court to supervise a person who lacks the ability to care for himself/herself. A guardian can be a family member, a friend, or a professional. This guardian is given authority over the person and/or property of the ward. Annual reports must be filed with the court. The Clerk’s Office Auditing Unit reviews all reports and recommendations are made to the court. The judge may either approve the guardianship report or schedule the case for a hearing to address areas of concern.

Frequently Asked Questions for Guardianship

Why do I need an attorney to represent me as guardian for my minor child?
Florida Law requires all guardians to be represented by an attorney. The attorney will advise the guardian on legal requirements necessary to comply with the Florida Statutes.

Can I make the decisions on how to invest my child’s assets?
The guardian must petition the court for authority on matters regarding the ward’s assets. This is for the protection of the ward as well as the guardian. The assets of the ward are restricted and all fiduciary action is subject to court order.

How do I have a guardianship established for my parent who is incompetent?
This process requires the use of an attorney to file certain papers with Mental Health at the Courthouse to begin a determination of incapacity. The mental health process takes approximately 30 days during which time the alleged incapacitated person will be interviewed and a hearing will be held. The Judge will rule on the person’s capacity that may result in a full or limited guardianship.

How do I get funds to take care of the ward?
The attorney of record will petition the court for the necessary funds required for the guardian to maintain the ward. The guardian will be advised on matters regarding extraordinary expenses and proper asset planning to insure that the ward’s assets are secure. All fiduciary activity must have court approval.

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