Watching a loved one gradually lose the ability to live independently can be an extremely emotional and difficult thing to go through. You’re afraid that they may get into a situation where somebody causes them harm, or that they may be taken advantage of. In such a situation, you may want to consider adult guardianship. The court can appoint adult guardianship to a capable person to make key decisions for your loved one. While they may lose certain rights, their overall life may become more enjoyable as there is a trusted person to help make decisions they are no longer capable of. If you are considering adult guardianship for your loved one, you may need an experienced adult guardianship attorney to help guide you through the process.
How Adult Guardianship In Florida Works
Adult guardianship refers to the legal process where the court appoints a person to act on the behalf of a person they have determined incapable of caring for themself. The person who is determined to lack capacity to make decisions is known as a “ward.” The ward may have certain rights taken away after the judge makes that determination, like the right to travel or the right to have a driver’s license. Legal authority and responsibility to make decisions for the ward is given to the guardian (or conservator).
Guardianship will only be granted by a Florida judge when there isn’t any less restrictive alternative that suffices. Examples of less restrictive alternatives include:
- A living trust
- A durable power of attorney
- A health care surrogate or proxy
Taking away legal rights from the ward is an extremely impactful thing, as you are removing rights from the ward and giving them to somebody else. This is why a judge will extensively explore these other options before considering the appointment of a guardian.
There are several different types of guardianships, which may be appointed depending on the ward’s specific situation and needs.
- Guardian of the property: This type of guardianship calls for the guardian to manage the assets of the ward, and includes making legal and financial decisions regarding assets, like real property, bank accounts, and investments.
- Guardian of the person: This type of guardianship makes the guardian responsible for decisions that affect the welfare of the ward, like accommodations, medical and mental care, and social well-being.
- Guardian of the property and person: If the court finds a person completely incapacitated, the judge will appoint a plenary guardian, or a guardian of the person and property. A plenary guardian holds full decision-making authority over the ward. This is the most restrictive type of guardianship. As long as the court approves, a plenary guardian may enact the following nonexhaustive list on behalf of the ward:
- Sue and defend lawsuits
- Enter into contracts
- Decide where the ward lives
- Apply for government benefits
- Sell or manage property
- Agree to or decline medical treatment
- Decide who the ward associates with
Contact Us Today
Securing adult guardianship is a difficult process that requires significant emotional energy and time. Deitsch & Desitch PLLC is here to help you with all of your guardianship needs. Call Deitsch & Deitsch PLLC to schedule a consultation regarding the adult guardianship process in Florida today