In Florida, obtaining legal guardianship can be a complicated process. It can be stressful to navigate the legal system and make sure your rights are upheld, particularly if you are not familiar with the legal procedure. Serrano Farah Law LP can help in this situation.
To assist you in obtaining legal guardianship for a loved one, our knowledgeable guardianship attorneys can lead you through the court process and offer you legal assistance. Who can file for legal guardianship in Florida, the steps involved in the procedure, and some frequently asked questions about guardianship in Florida are all covered in this article. Continue reading to learn more.
Legal Guardianship in Florida: An Overview
Legal guardianship is a legal relationship in which a court appoints an individual or entity to care for and make decisions on behalf of a minor child or an incapacitated adult who cannot manage their own affairs. In Florida, the legal process of obtaining guardianship is governed by the Florida Statutes, Chapter 744.
To become a guardian in Florida, a person must file a petition with the court requesting guardianship. The court will then determine whether the proposed ward is incapacitated and whether the petitioner is qualified to serve as guardian. If the court finds that guardianship is necessary, it will issue an order appointing the guardian.
A legal arrangement called legal guardianship offers protection and care to people who are unable to make decisions for themselves. Legal guardianship is an option in Florida for both minors and adults. In Florida, there are two different kinds of guardianship: court-appointed guardianship and voluntary guardianship.
When parents pass away or become incapable of caring for their children, or if a child receives an inheritance, the settlement from a lawsuit, or the proceeds from an insurance policy that exceeds the legal limit, Florida law compels the court to appoint a guardian.
One type of guardianship that is initiated by the person or their family is voluntary guardianship. On the other hand, court-appointed guardianship is a court process in which the court appoints a guardian on behalf of a person.
The legal guardian takes on the responsibilities of being the person’s caregiver and is in charge of making significant decisions on their behalf. This involves choosing what they will receive for medical, educational, and financial needs.
In Florida, who can apply for legal guardianship?
In Florida, you must be at least 18 years old and have never been convicted of a felony to be able to apply for legal guardianship. The applicant must additionally demonstrate their capacity to carry out the duties of a legal guardian.
Usually, the person who petitions for legal guardianship is a family member or close friend of the person in need of one. However, in some circumstances, the court might name a guardian ad litem to serve in that capacity.
The Florida Guardianship Filing Process – Step By Step
- Submit a Petition: To obtain guardianship in Florida, a petition must be submitted to the appropriate court. Information on the proposed guardian, the proposed incapacitated person, and the justifications for guardianship should all be included in the petition.
- Appointment: The court will name a Guardian ad Litem, an attorney, to represent the incapacitated person. The case will be investigated by this attorney, who will then advise the court on whether or not guardianship is necessary.
- Obtain a Medical Exam: To ascertain the incapacitated person’s mental and physical state, the court will order a medical exam. A doctor, psychologist, or another medical expert will do the physical examination.
- Schedule a Hearing: The court will schedule a hearing to decide if guardianship is required following the conclusion of the medical examination. All interested parties, including the potential guardian, the potential ward, and any family members, must be given notice of the hearing.
- Attend the Hearing: The proposed guardian, the Guardian ad Litem, and any other interested parties will testify before the judge during the hearing. The judge will decide if guardianship is required and, if so, what kind of guardianship is most suitable.
- Inventory: Within 60 days after the guardian’s appointment by the judge, the guardian is required to submit to the court an inventory of the ward’s assets and debts.
- Annual Reports: Annual reports outlining the ward’s status, financial activities, and any other pertinent information must be filed with the court by the guardian.
It is important to note that this is merely an outline of the guardianship procedure in Florida. Depending on the particulars of each case, the stages and requirements may change. It is advised that you speak with our knowledgeable guardianship attorney who can help you navigate the process and make sure all legal criteria are satisfied.
Guardianship in Florida: The Costs
Depending on the unique circumstances of the case, guardianship expenses in Florida can differ. Court fees, legal fees, guardian fees, and the cost of paying a doctor or other expert to assess the incapable individual are a few of the expenses that could be incurred. Expenses related to providing for the disabled person, such as medical and living costs, may also be considered ongoing costs.
How Long Does the Florida Guardianship Procedure Take?
The complexity of the case and the court’s schedule can affect how long the guardianship procedure takes in Florida. Usually, it takes from a few months to more than a year to finish the process. The procedure might take a while because it entails a careful assessment of the incapable individual, the selection of a guardian ad litem, and numerous hearings and court appearances.
In Florida, can a legal guardian be removed?
Under Florida, a legal guardian may be removed in specific situations. This could happen if the guardian is discovered to be acting against the disabled person’s best interests or if they are no longer able to carry out their guardianship responsibilities. A hearing will be scheduled to decide whether or not the guardian should be removed when a petition asking for removal is submitted to the court.
Why Do you Need a Florida Guardianship Attorney?
The role of a guardian is to make decisions on behalf of the ward, including decisions related to healthcare, education, and finances. The guardian must act in the best interests of the ward and must report to the court regularly to ensure that the ward’s needs are being met.
In Florida, guardianship is typically permanent, but it can be terminated if the ward’s condition improves or if the guardian is found to be acting against the ward’s best interests.
It is important to note that guardianship can be a complex legal process, and it is often advisable to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Additionally, there are many resources available to help individuals who are considering guardianship, including the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Florida State Guardianship Association.
A skilled guardianship attorney is crucial to your case since obtaining legal guardianship in Florida may be a difficult and sensitive procedure. A guardianship lawyer can help you with the legal procedure, explain your rights and obligations, and help you deal with any potential legal problems. Additionally, they can represent you in court, safeguarding your rights and putting your case forward in the best possible light.