Skip links

What is a Guardian Advocate?

What is a Guardian Advocate?

Orlando, Florida attorney L. Reed Bloodworth, managing partner of Bloodworth Law, handles guardianship for families and individuals across the state. 

Another type of guardianship is the Guardian Advocate. What is a guardian advocate? The guardian advocate process is a guardianship created by the state of Florida to meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities. 

What Qualifies as a Developmental Disability? 

Florida statutes defines developmental disabilities as individuals who have:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Autism
  • Phelan-McDermid Syndrome
  • Down Syndrome
  • Spina Bifida
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Or, an intellectual disability. 

An adult with developmental disabilities is unable to make decisions for themselves in most but not all areas of their life–even with assistance–and is not able to understand or sign estate planning documents. They are unable to express their will, even with support, in most, but not all areas.

What is a Guardian Advocacy?

Guardian Advocacy is a legal process where parents, family members, or friends of individuals with a developmental disability can obtain the legal authority to act on the individual’s behalf.

Person vs. Property 

A Guardian Advocate of a Person can make personal decisions including:

  • The decision of residence,
  • Consenting to medical or mental health treatment, and
  • Making social decisions. 

A Guardian Advocate of Property can ask the court to make property decisions including: 

  • Contracting,
  • Suing and defending lawsuits, and,
  • Managing a property or making gifts. 

Generally, both a Guardian Advocate of a Person and a Guardian Advocate of Property can request the right to seek government benefits.

Age Requirements 

A guardian advocate petition can be filed after a person with a developmental disability turns 18.

Or, if a child with developmental disabilities is involved in a child welfare case, the petition can be filed when the child is 17 and a half years old.

The Bloodworth Law Guardianship team handles Guardian Advocate cases across Florida. So, if you have questions about guardian advocacy, talk with Reed about how Bloodworth Law can help you, or your family.

Consider sharing this post