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What is a Guardianship?

Orlando, Florida, Attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is the managing partner of Bloodworth Law, with offices in Winter Haven, Florida.

What is a Guardianship?

What is a guardianship? A guardianship is a legal proceeding in Florida circuit courts in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of a minor or an incapacitated person.

A Guardian is a Surrogate Decision-Maker

A guardian is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make financial and/or personal decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities.

A guardian is also an institution, like a bank trust department or a non-profit corporation appointed by the court to care for an incapacitated person — called a ward — or for the ward’s assets.

Florida law requires the court to appoint a guardian for minors if parents become incapacitated or if they die or if a child receives an inheritance, lawsuit proceeds, or an insurance policy exceeding a certain amount.

Adult Guardianship

Adult guardianship is the process where the court finds that an individual’s ability to make decisions is so impaired that the court gives the right to make decisions to another person.

Florida law allows both voluntary and involuntary guardianships. A voluntary guardianship can be established for an adult who is incapable of managing her or his own estate, and who voluntarily petitions for the appointment, although they are mentally competent.

2020 Florida Guardianship Law

A 2020 Florida guardianship law expanded the protection of seniors, and guardianship reporting requirements. The new law includes:

  • Restricting professional guardians from being able to petition the court to be appointed to cases unless they are related to the person in care.
  • Making it mandatory that guardians report detailed information regarding payments.
  • Requiring courts to grant permission for guardians to sign do not resuscitate orders.

If you don’t have an estate plan to outline the guardianship of your children, you won’t have a say in what happens to your children, your assets, or yourself if you become physically incapacitated, or if you die intestate.

Talk to Reed about estate planning for your family which involves the establishment of guardianships to care for your minor children or family members with disabilities should anything happen to you.

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