When an individual becomes incapacitated due to age or illness, and is unable to care for and protect themselves, a Guardian may be appointed to act for them. In Florida, Guardianships are supervised by the Probate Division of the Circuit Court. Commencing a Guardianship is a two-step process: First, a Petition to Determine Incapacity is filed. In this proceeding, the Court will determine if an individual lacks the capacity to care for personal and medical needs, or their property and finances. If the Court determines that a person is lacking this ability in some are all respects, the Court will then proceed to the second step, which is the appointment of a legal Guardian to exercise these rights on behalf of the incapacitated person. Once a Guardian is appointed, the Guardian must act in the best interests of the incapacitated person, and report to the Court regularly.
A Guardianship is also necessary for a minor child if they receive assets in excess of $25,000, by way of inheritance, personal injury claim, or otherwise. In these instances, a Guardian of the Property is appointed to manage the assets until the child reaches the age of majority (18).
Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of the Guardianship process. We have represented Guardians, Incapacitated Persons, Parents and other family members to guide them through this difficult process. While Guardianship is generally an unpleasant process for the participants, it is sometimes unavoidable and necessary for the protection of the elderly, then young and the disabled members of society who cannot adequately protect themselves.
If you are involved in a Florida Guardianship proceedings, or have a family member who is in need of these legal protections, please contact us.