A Guardian is a person who is appointed by the court to make personal and/or financial decisions on behalf of a minor or an adult with mental or physical disabilities. A Guardian may be required for a minor if both parents are deceased or become incapacitated, or if a child receives proceeds from a lawsuit, inheritance, or insurance policy in excess of $15,000.00. Additionally, a Guardian may be required for an adult if they are declared mentally or physically disabled by a court in order to protect their wellbeing and interest. The person the Guardian is caring for is known as the Ward, regardless of whether they are a minor or adult.
Adult Guardianship is typically only used as a last resort when other options to allow the person to maintain their legal capacity are not practical. Adults also have the power to petition the courts for their own Guardian, even if they are not suffering from a mental or physical disability, if they find they are unable to maintain their property. This is known as a Voluntary Guardianship.
When it comes to guardianship, there are a few types of guardians that may be appointed depending on the circumstances. The first is known as a Limited Guardianship, in which the Guardian has limited authority over the Ward's property, as the Ward is still able to make some decisions themselves. The second is known as Plenary Guardianship, in which the Guardian has power to make all decisions for a Ward's finances and care. Lastly, there are Temporary Guardianships where a court appoints a Guardian for a short period of time due to an emergency.
Any Florida resident over the age of 18 who has not been convicted of a felony is able to serve as a Guardian. Non-residents of Florida may also be Guardians in Florida if they are directly related to the ward; a legally adopted child or parent of the Ward; or a spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the Ward; or the spouse of any such person listed. Non-residents of Florida must also be at least 18 years of age and never convicted of a felony.
At the Law Offices of Rina Feld, we assist those attempting to become a Guardian over another or those wishing to have a Guardian enacted for another person. Our goal is to provide efficient and compassionate care for every person involved, especially the Ward.