Guardianship for an Adult:
If an adult becomes incapacitated, physically and/or cognitively, and did not designate an agent in a Durable Power of Attorney or Healthcare Surrogate while competent this court proceeding will appoint a family member (or professional) as guardian. The guardian will have legal authority to make financial and/or medical decisions for the incapacitated adult. In certain situations (i.e. car accident resulting in temporary incapacity) a guardianship may last for a short time until rights can be restored. In situations involving long-term incapacity a guardianship will remain in place until the incapacitated adult passes away. A guardian must be represented by an attorney. The guardian is responsible for preparing annual reports to the court.
Guardianship for a Minor:
In Florida a ‘minor’ is a child under 18 years of age. A guardianship of both person and property may be required for a minor child if both parents are deceased or, incapacitated. The guardian can then make decisions such as where the child will reside and attend school, authorize medical treatment and handle the child’s finances. If parents are alive and not incapacitated a guardianship of only property may be required if the child receives assets (inheritance or lawsuit settlement) exceeding $15,000.00. The guardianship will terminate when the child becomes a legal adult. A guardian must be represented by an attorney. The guardian is responsible for preparing annual reports to the court.
Emergency Temporary Guardianship:
Emergency temporary guardianship is appropriate when an adult is either being financially exploited or, is in imminent physical danger which includes self-neglect. The temporary appointment of the guardian lasts for 90 days. Before the end of the 90 days it may be necessary to petition for a permanent guardianship if the situation has not been stabilized or if the adult lacks capacity to execute legal documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney and Designation of Health Care Surrogate. A guardian must be represented by an attorney. The guardian is responsible for preparing final reports to the court.
Guardian Advocate for Persons with Disabilities:
This proceeding is intended to support an adult born with a developmental disability in achieving their highest potential. Developmental disabilities include:
The adult’s legal rights are not removed. A guardian advocate is appointed to help the adult make informed decisions (medical and financial). A guardian advocate must be represented by an attorney except in certain situations. The guardian advocate is responsible for preparing annual reports to the court.