Guardianships are legal processes in which the rights and property of a person deemed incapable of managing his or her own affairs are exercised by another adult.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family is to seek counsel from Allender & Allender to avoid the prospect of guardianship entirely. That way, none of your loved ones will have to deal with the stressful court proceeding to have you declared incompetent.

If, however, you are currently involved in a situation that may lead to the necessity of filing a guardianship for a loved one, please call us as soon as possible to learn how we can assist you. We have helped hundreds of Florida families in guardianship proceedings.

Guardianships for Adults

Any adult may file a petition with the court to determine another person’s incapacity. After the petition has been filed, the court will appoint a committee of two professionals, usually a physician and someone with a medical background, as well as a layperson, to examine the individual in question and report its findings to the court. The court also appoints an attorney to represent the person alleged to be incapacitated, known as the “Ward.” If the examining committee concludes that the alleged incapacitated person is actually capacitated, the court will dismiss the petition. If the examining committee finds the person to be incapable of exercising certain rights, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the person is totally or partially incapacitated. A guardian is usually appointed at the end of that hearing.

A guardian of the property of the Ward must make an inventory of the Ward’s property, invest it prudently, use it for the Ward’s support, and account for it by filing detailed annual reports with the court. In addition, the guardian must obtain court approval for certain financial transactions. The guardian of the Ward’s person may exercise those rights that have been removed from the Ward and delegated to the guardian, including, but not limited to, providing medical, mental and personal care services and determining the place and kind of residential setting best suited for the Ward. The guardian of the person must also present a detailed plan for the Ward’s care every year.

Guardianships for Minors

A child’s parents are the child’s natural guardians and in general may act for the child. In circumstances where one or both parents die or become incapacitated, or if a child receives an inheritance or proceeds of a lawsuit or insurance policy exceeding $15,000, the court must appoint a guardian. Once a guardian for a minor has been appointed, the guardian must essentially meet and adhere to the same requirements as a guardian appointed for an adult.