A guardian may be appointed by the court when an adult or minor is not capable of managing their own affairs, whether those are financial or personal affairs. The person who is considered incapable of managing their own affairs is called the ward. A guardianship case is supervised by the court for as long as the guardianship is necessary. The process of getting the court to appoint a guardian to care for the needs of the ward can be a long and arduous process and isn’t always necessary.
Florida law requires all guardians to be represented by an attorney. Our team of guardianship attorneys has extensive knowledge and pervasive experience in analyzing your particular situation and helping you decide whether a guardianship is right for you and the most effective type of guardianship for your needs. There are two main types of guardianships: a guardianship for an adult and a guardianship for a minor.
If an adult lacks the capacity to act for him or herself, someone can petition the court to have them appointed guardian to manage the affairs of that adult. A guardianship can cover everything from financial matters to medical matters to legal matters. A court-appointed panel of experts completes a full analysis of the ward to determine whether the ward is actually incapacitated and, if so, to what extent. That report is shared with the court during a hearing to determine the extent of incapacity. The court then determines what rights should be taken away from the ward and given to the guardian. A guardianship is a serious matter because the court is legally taking away the rights of the ward and giving those rights to a court-appointed guardian.
The court can appoint a guardian of the person of the ward. This means that the ward no longer has control over the decisions that affect them personally. Most notably, medical decisions. This type of guardianship is necessary when the ward suffers from a mental illness like Alzheimer’s and he or she is incapable of making major decisions. The court can also appoint a guardian of the property of the ward. This means that the ward no longer has control over decisions that affect their property, such as financial decisions. The guardian would then be in control of managing the ward’s money and property.
Typically, the right to handle the affairs of a minor child are vested in that child’s parents. However, if the minor child owns assets whose value exceeds $15,000, a guardianship of the minor may be necessary. In this situation, the minor child’s parents usually become the guardians. If the minor child doesn’t have living parents, the court may appoint anyone qualified to serve as guardian after they petition the court for such an appointment.
Another option available to those who are concerned about the well-being of another is a guardian advocacy. In Florida, a guardian advocate may be appointed to care for someone who possesses developmental disabilities and may lack the ability to make major decisions for themselves. In a guardian advocacy, the ward does not need to be labeled legally incapacitated for the court to appoint a guardian advocate. A guardian advocate may be appointed if the court finds that the ward lacks sufficient decision-making capabilities to care for themselves.
Our guardianship attorneys represent guardians, guardian advocates, and wards. Sometimes a guardianship is commenced to gain control of someone’s property or persons when that person does not lack capacity. Our guardianship attorneys will challenge any wrongful allegations of incapacity and ensure that the court does not improperly strip a ward of his or her rights.
Compassionate Advice and Assistance
Let the guardianship attorneys at Older Lundy & Alvarez inform you of your options during this difficult time. Call 813-254-8998 to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a calmer mind.