|Adult Guardianship. If an adult is incapacitated, he or she may need a guardian to handle his or her affairs or to make medical or other care decisions for him or her. An adult guardianship is commenced by filing a petition with the court asking the court to make a determination that the adult lacks capacity to act for himself or herself. The court appoints a committee of experts to examine the alleged incapacitated person. After the committee members file their reports with the court, the court holds a hearing to determine whether the person is, in fact, incapacitated and to what extent. If the court determines there is some incapacity, it has the power to take rights away from the incapacitated person, and assign those rights to a guardian.
Guardian of the Person. If, for example, the court determines that the person has dementia and as a result is incapable of making his or her own medical decisions, the court would rule that the person may no longer make medical decisions for himself or herself. The court would then appoint a guardian of the person and assign to the guardian of the person the power to make medical decisions for the incapacitated person.
Guardian of the Property. Likewise, the court may determine that the person lacks the mental capacity to handle his or her finances. In that case, the court would order that the incapacitated person may no longer handle his or her finances and would assign the power and responsibility to handle those finances to a guardian of the property of the incapacitated person.
Minor's Guardianships. The parents of a minor ordinarily have the power to handle the assets belonging to the minor and to make all medical decisions for the minor. However, if the minor acquires assets with a value that is greater than $15,000, the minor may need a court-appointed guardian. Usually, if the court appoints a guardian for the property of a minor, it appoints
the parents as guardian. However, others may serve as guardian. And, if the minor has no living parents, the court may also appoint a guardian of the minor's person as well. That person would have rights to manage the person of the minor, just as a parent would, if the parent were alive.
Court Supervision. All guardianships are closely supervised by the court. That is true whether the guardianship is for an adult or for a minor, whether it is a guardianship of the person or guardianship of the property. Moreover, Florida law requires all guardians to be represented by an attorney. We have been representing guardians of all kinds for 29 years and have the ability to ensure our clients remain in good standing with the court.
Guardian Advocates. Florida allows the appointment of a guardian advocate for persons with developmental disabilities if the disabled persons lack the ability to make decisions concerning their health care or personal care. There is no determination of legal incapacity in a guardian advocate appointment. The court only determines that a person with a developmental disability lacks sufficient decision making capability and needs an advocate. We can represent guardian advocates, persons seeking the appointment of a guardian advocate and persons alleged to lack decision making capabilities.
Application for Appointment as Guardian. If you desire to be appointed as a guardian, you must file with the court, through your attorney, several documents. One is your recent credit report. Another is an application for appointment as guardian.