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Guardianship 101

A guardian is someone appointed by the court to make decisions for an incapacitated adult or a minor whose natural parents cannot make decisions for them. Some of the reasons someone may pursue a guardianship for a loved one include:

  • Dementia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe mental illness
  • A minor who has become orphaned
  • A minor whose parents have been injured, are ill, or for another reason are no longer able to care for them
  • A minor with developmental disabilities

Florida recognizes several different types of guardianships. Some of the more common types are:

  • Limited Guardian – If someone is partially incapacitated, a limited guardian will take care of some of the individual’s decisions.
  • Plenary Guardian – If someone is fully incapacitated, a plenary guardian takes care of all of the individual’s decisions.
  • Guardian of the Person – This is similar to a healthcare surrogate. A Guardian of the Person will make healthcare decisions for the incapacitated person.
  • Guardian of the Property – This is similar to a power of attorney. This guardian will make financial decisions for an incapacitated individual.
  • Pre-Need Guardian – This is a guardian that an individual names in their legal documents to take care of them or their minor children should they become incapacitated in the future. This person is effectively on standby in case the need arises but has no immediate guardianship responsibilities.
  • Guardian Advocate – This type of Guardianship can be used to allow the parents of a minor child with developmental disabilities to continue to assist with their decision making once the minor turns 18.

To request a guardianship, you or your attorney must file two petitions with the Florida courts. The first petition is to prove that the individual who would be subject to the guardianship is incapacitated. The second petition is to request the appointment of the specific guardian.  To be named as a guardian, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Over 18 years-old
  • A resident of Florida or a non-resident of Florida who is a relative or spouse of the ward
  • Never been convicted of a felony or child abuse

Once the court approves the guardianship, the guardian must take an oath to faithfully perform their duties as well as post a bond to the state.

If you believe that your loved one may be in need of a guardian to help them manage their health or financial affairs, contact Huth, Pratt and Milhauser. We specialize in all aspects of guardianship formation and management – from establishing guardianships to representing guardians and monitoring / reporting their activities to the courts, as required by Florida law. Similarly, if you have a loved one who is a ward under a Guardianship and are concerned that their affairs are being improperly managed by an existing Guardian, we can help by petitioning the court to have the Guardianship changed or terminated if Guardianship was improper to begin with. Call us today for a no-obligation free consultation.

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser is a boutique law firm that offers a wide range of legal services in the specialty areas of wills, trusts, estates, probate, guardianship, and related matters. The range of legal services that Huth, Pratt & Milhauser provides in these specialty areas includes planning, administration and litigation. The experience and skills of our attorneys and staff, coupled with our knowledge of applicable law, enable us to provide outstanding representation to our clients.

Although we are located in South Florida, we proudly serve clients throughout the country and around the world from our Boca Raton offices. We strive to provide superior and focused counsel in a timely manner and at a competitive price.

2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460
Boca Raton, Florida   33431
Phone: 561-392-1800

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2500 North Military Trail, Ste. 460 Boca Raton, Florida   33431 Phone: 561-392-1800 Directions