Guardianship is a legal process that helps to protect those who are unable to make life decisions for themselves by appointing a guardian to make important decisions on their behalf. Guardianship can be considered for the elderly, disabled persons, children, or even for an estate or property. The Florida Courts are responsible for legally assigning the selected guardian, who has been chosen by the incapacitated or the family, usually an attorney or other professional, and will only allow them to make decisions that the affected person is unable to make for themselves.
What are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?
A guardian will be given specific responsibilities regarding their ward based on the wards ability to handle their own affairs. Some responsibilities that they may be given could include regarding residence, medical treatment, end-of-life decisions, and consent to release of confidential information. They are also required to report to the court about the guardianship status at least once per year. The ward’s need for guardianship will be be re-evaluated each year to determine if they are able to have full or partial restoration of their rights.
What is Estate Guardianship?
When a person is appointed as an estate guardian, they are responsible for personal property, real estate, and anything that may be subject to ownership. They are entrusted to protect the assets of the estate, obtain property appraisals, receive income on behalf of the estate, make disbursements, and sell property with court approval. A guardian will keep all monetary assets separate from their personal accounts, and is also responsible for providing complete accounting of any funds held within the estate.
Selecting a Guardian
A guardian is usually selected by family of the ward, and is then legally assigned by the courts. The guardian must meet certain legal requirements, and can be a family member who is not incapacitated themselves. When no family member is available, it is common for a legal professional to be selected instead.
A lawyer or other legal professional is typically the best choice for a guardian, as they are able to understand and handle any legal matters that may arise for the ward, often have experience dealing with this type of situation, and can remain objective while keeping their ward’s best interests at heart.
If you are worried that a potential disability could leave you without the ability to choose your own guardian, then you should speak with a qualified lawyer who can help you legally record your wishes for incapacitated care.
Want more information on selecting a guardian, or planning for incapacitated care for yourself or a loved one in Florida? Contact us now for a Consultation!