An adult guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated adult. During the legal proceeding, the court finds an individual's ability to make decisions so impaired that the court removes all or some of the individual’s rights and gives the right to make decisions to another person, the guardian.

A minor guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian is appointed on behalf of a minor child. In some instances, the guardian exercise parental rights over a minor child when the minor’s natural parents have died. In other instances, the guardian is appointed to safeguard proceeds of a lawsuit, inheritance or insurance policy exceeding $15,000.00 on behalf of the minor.

A guardian is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court in a guardianship case to make either personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities.

The person who is the subject of the guardianship case is called a “Ward.” In adult guardianships, the person who is deemed incapacitated is called a “Ward.” In minor guardianships, the minor child is called a “Ward.”

You need to hire an attorney so that a guardian can be appointed. The law requires that all guardians or people seeking to become the guardian be represented by an attorney. Fla. Prob. R. 5.030(a). If you cannot afford an attorney, please contact the Dade County Bar Association Legal Aid at 305-579-5733 or Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. at 305-576-0080.

After you have hired an attorney, you may ask your attorney to file a Petition for Voluntary Guardianship pursuant to section 744.341, Florida Statutes. The court may appoint a guardian of the property for a person who, though mentally competent, is incapable of the care, custody, and management of his or her property because of age or physical infirmity and who has voluntarily filed a Petition for Voluntary Guardianship.

A minor guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian is appointed on behalf of a minor child. In some instances, the guardian exercise parental rights over a minor child when the minor’s natural parents have died. In other instances, the guardian is appointed to safeguard proceeds of a lawsuit, inheritance or insurance policy exceeding $15,000.00 on behalf of the minor.

A guardian who is given authority over property of the Ward is required to inventory the property, invest it prudently, use it for the Ward’s support and account for it by filing detailed annual accountings with the court. In addition, the guardian must obtain court approval for certain financial transactions.

Specifically, under Florida law, the annual accountings must be filed with the court by April 1st. The accounting due April 1, 2018 covers the period from January 1 through December 31, 2017.

The simplified annual accounting form is available here and the regular accounting form is available here.

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 must also present to the court a detailed annual plan for the Ward’s care along with a physician’s report.

Specifically, under Florida law, the annual plan must be filed with the court by April 1st. The report due April 1, 2018 covers the period from January 1 through December 31, 2018.

The annual plan form is available here.

The clerk of the court reviews all annual accountings and annual plans filed by guardians and presents them to the court for approval. Guardians who do not properly carry out their responsibilities may be removed by the court.

A guardian of the person makes decisions regarding the Ward’s well-being including but not limited to medical decisions, living arrangements and travel plans.

A guardian of the property is responsible for the Ward’s property, including but not limited to financial assets, real and personal property, and makes decisions regarding the Ward’s property.

A guardian of the person and property makes all decisions on behalf of the Ward, including decisions pertaining to the Ward’s well-being and decisions associated with maintaining the Ward’s real and personal property.

Hire an attorney to file a Petition for Restoration of Capacity on your behalf. If you cannot afford an attorney, please contact the Miami-Dade County Bar Association Legal Aid at 305-579-5733 or Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. at 305-576-0080.

Alternatively, you may file a Suggestion of Capacity with the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court located at 73 West Flagler Street, Room 234 Miami, Florida 33130.

You need to hire an attorney. The law requires that all guardians be represented by an attorney. Fla. Prob. R. 5.030(a). If you cannot afford an attorney, please contact the Dade County Bar Association Legal Aid at 305-579-5733 or Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. at 305-576-0080.

Then, ask your attorney to file a Petition for Distribution and, subsequently, a Petition for Discharge. You can assist your attorney by executing a consent to the Petition for Distribution and, upon receiving the guardianship assets, a receipt for the attorney to file in the court record.