Florida Guardianship Attorneys
Guardianship & Family Law
In Florida, a “guardian” is a decision-maker appointed by a court to take care of legal, financial, or other matters for another person, who is referred to as a “ward.” Depending on an individual’s circumstances, a guardian may be appointed for a minor or for an adult.
Choosing a guardian is a delicate process. Guardians are directly responsible for the welfare of another person and that person’s assets. If you’re in a situation in which someone you love needs a guardian, please don’t hesitate to contact the guardianship attorneys at Farah & Farah.
Guardianship for Minors
For most children, their parents, whether biological or adopted, serve as their guardians. However, a child might need a separately-appointed guardian for many reasons, including the death of the child’s parents or his or her parents becoming unable to take care of the child’s needs. Florida law also requires a guardian to be appointed if a child receives an inheritance or proceeds from a lawsuit that totals more than the parents can legally receive on their child’s behalf.
When a child needs a legal guardian, a court may appoint one. If the child’s parents pass away, but have named a guardian in their will or other estate plan, that person may serve as guardian if he or she is willing and the court approves.
Guardianship for Adults
Adults who are incapacitated may also need a guardian for some form of assistance. A guardian may be appointed to manage an incapacitated adult’s property, to make crucial personal decisions for the incapacitated adult, or both.
In order for an adult to receive a guardian, he or she must first be determined to be “incapacitated.” An incapacitated person is someone whom a court has found to be unable to manage some or all of his or her personal or financial matters, like understanding when and how to pay the bills or remembering to eat and bathe. Injury, illness, and old age are just three possible reasons an adult may become incapacitated, but not all adults become incapacitated in the same way. For instance, an adult may only need help managing his or her finances, while another may need someone to handle all legal and medical decisions.
Florida law requires courts to use the least-restrictive guardianship process available for adults. In many cases, this means that a full-fledged guardian is not actually required. Some adults can be protected with a trust, a durable power of attorney, or another legal tool. A Florida guardianship lawyer can help you understand what an incapacitated adult may need and help you ensure the person gets the legal support he or she requires.
Eligibility to be Guardian
Florida law allows any adult to serve as guardian if he or she:
- lives in Florida, or lives outside Florida but meets certain requirements;
- has not been convicted of a felony;
- is not incapacitated or otherwise unable to serve as guardian, and;
- is not under a conflict of interest that would affect his or her ability to serve as guardian.
In some cases, an institution like a bank may also serve as a guardian.
Experienced Legal Assistance for Guardians in Florida
Guardianship is not just a legal relationship; it is also an ethical one, requiring the dedication and ability to make many careful decisions on behalf of another person. This means that guardianship issues should never be taken lightly. At Farah & Farah, we can help you negotiate a wide range of sensitive guardianship issues. Contact us at (904) 263-4610 today to learn more.