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Jacksonville Guardianship Lawyers

GuardianshipA Florida Guardianship attorney or Lawyer helps families deal with incapacitated family members or allows others to take care of minor children. Sometimes companies or individuals take advantage of the elderly and obtain guardianships in an effort to take control of the persons assets. In these cases a dispute may arise and the individual may have created liability for their actions against the elderly person. Our Florida Guardianship Attorneys and Florida Guardianship Lawyers work with Families involved with Florida Guardianships.

What is Guardianship?

What is Guardianship? Guardianship is the process of making one individual legally able to make decisions for another individual. The Florida Court System oversees guardianships. Through the guardianship process, a judge appoints an individual to care for another individual. A guardianship is a necessary tool when someone can no longer make their own decisions. Guardianship may also be needed when someone has become easily vulnerable to fraud or undue influence. The Guardian is the individual appointed by a judge to make decisions for another individual. Once a judge determines an individual needs a guardian, they are called the Ward. A guardian can have authority to make personal and/or financial decisions for the Ward. The Ward can be an adult with a physical or mental disability or a minor.

Types of Guardianships: There are three types of Guardianships defined by the Florida Statutes.

1.    Guardianship of an Adult- The Guardian of an Adult can be:

  • Guardian of the Person:  A guardian of the person can only make decisions concerning the Wards person. For example, a guardian of the person makes all health-care decisions for the Ward and determines the Ward’s residence.
  • Guardian of Property: A guardian of property can only make decisions on behalf of the Ward concerning their assets. For example, a guardian of property manages the Ward’s money and pays the Ward’s bills.
  • Plenary Guardian: Plenary means complete. A Plenary Guardian is the Guardian of both the Person and Property of the Ward.
  • Voluntary Guardian: A Voluntary Guardian is when the Ward chooses to have a guardian even though they can still make sound decisions.  Voluntary Guardianship can on be of the property.
2.    Guardianship of a Minor- The Guardian of a Minor can be:

  • Guardian of the Person:  The Guardian of the Person of a Minor can make all decisions regarding the minor’s health, school and other activities that a parent can make for their child.
  • Guardian of Property: In Florida, if a child inherits $15,000.00 or more, they must be appointed a Guardian of Property. Parents of a minor are not automatically Guardians of Property of their child. Parents must be appointed the Guardian of Property for their child.
  • Plenary Guardian of the Minor: A Plenary Guardian of a the Minor can make both person and property decisions on behalf of the minor.

3.    Guardian Advocacy- Guardian Advocacy is a special type of guardianship for individuals born with a developmental disability when they become 18 years of age.  Guardian Advocacy is a streamlined guardianship process.

How does a court determine someone needs 
a guardian? 

Before an adult can be appointed a guardian, the Court must first deem them incapacitated. The legal process for determining whether someone is incapacitated is called the Determination of Incapacity. The determination of incapacity involves a three-person examining committee. Each member of the examining committee evaluates the Ward and files a report with the Court. The Court uses these reports of the examining committee to determine whether the Ward has the capacity to make sound decisions and exercise their rights. Minors do not require a determination of incapacity as minors are legally already incapacitated until 18 years old.

Legislative Intent: It is the intent of the Florida legislature for the least restrictive kind of guardianship to be granted. The least restrictive form means only to give a guardian the rights the Ward cannot exercise him or herself. When a guardian is given only some of a Ward’s rights, it is a limited guardianship. A limited guardianship is necessary in circumstances where a court finds the Ward able to exercise some but not all, of their rights.  For example, a ward may be able to determine their residence, but not able to enter into a contract.

Are a Power of Attorney and Guardianship the same? 

A Power of Attorney and Guardianship are very different things. However, they have the same purpose, which is to give an individual the power to make decisions for someone who cannot make decisions for themselves. The most significant difference between a Power of Attorney and Guardianship is when and how they are created. A Power of Attorney is created without court supervision and by the individual who needs assistance when that individual can still make sound decisions. In contrast, Guardianship is established when the individual can no longer make sound decisions and is supervised by the Florida Court System.

How long does guardianship last? 

Guardianship does not expire unless it is a temporary guardianship. For a guardianship of an adult to expire, the Ward must file a Petition to Terminate Guardianship with the Court. The Ward must then prove to the Court they have capacity and can now make sound decisions. A temporary guardianship generally expires in 90 days. A guardianship of a minor terminates when the minor turns 18 years of age. 

If you think a guardianship may be appropriate or are involved in guardianship proceedings and would like representation to help you understand and deal with this complicated process, CONTACT a Florida Guardianship Lawyer by email or call us at 904-685-1200 to discuss your situation today.

Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog - Guardianship
Client Reviews
After years of trying to protect my assets from creditors, I was shocked to find out that my assets were unprotected in ways I had never considered. Not only had I placed my assets at risk from my mother's creditors, but I had placed my assets at risk from other family members who were intent on manipulation. When my mother died, I discovered that a family member had changed my mother's estate planning documents. Mr. Goldman and his team were able to explain what went wrong and successfully defended my position in court. During the case, I learned that I could have had much better protection from family and creditors, thus avoiding years of litigation and undue familial stress. When it comes to protecting your assets and your family, I would highly recommend hiring Mr. Goldman and his team. Bill H.
As a real estate agent, I have been involved with many property transactions where I needed a probate attorney to help facilitate the transaction. I have used the services of Mr. Goldman and his staff over the last several years and continue to use them on a regular basis. His office has been able to navigate the court system and help estates sell their property quickly and efficiently. In addition, Mr. Goldman can help real estate investors structure trusts to protect their assets from creditors. Michael Starling
This office is fantastic. I was faced with a horrible situation and this office helped to put an end to the untenable situation. Ms. Kendal Schoepfer was always available before, during, and after office hours to answer any questions that I had. I highly recommend this law office to all. Tisha Brown
Kendal was an amazing answer to a difficult time. Highly recommend her!!! Dana Ramsey
Attorney Robert Wilbert of David M Goldman, PLLC, will be the first and only attorney I would ever recommend to a consumer in my position. Mr. Wilbert was professional, answered my numerous questions without hesitation, provided straightforward answers and options. He explained the process thoroughly. He was available to assist before and after the process to make sure all issues had been resolved. I feel extremely confident in referring anyone to him who was facing as many obstacles as I was. Thank you Attorney Robert Wilbert for standing by my side through this! Kameron Knowlton