Guardianship is a process where a surrogate is appointed to a minor or an incapacitated individual due to mental or physical disabilities. It can be sad to see that a loved one or someone you care about slowly loses their ability to decide for themselves. However, you can step up and become their legal guardian.

Being a guardian of another person means making decisions on their behalf. And if you’re ready to take on this huge responsibility, it’s best to find a guardianship defense attorney in Florida who can guide you through this process. They are experienced with these types of cases while providing you with legal advice.

Smith & Eulo has a team of excellent Guardianship Lawyers in Florida with years of expertise regarding guardianship. It’s best to contact them and schedule a consultation to retain legal counsel.

guardianship lawyer florida

Understanding Guardianship

Guardianship is a process when a person loses their ability to live and think independently. There are instances where they need to give up their civil rights. After that, it will be passed to someone who can decide for them.

When the process is completed and adjudicated, the individual who is the subject of the guardianship is referred to as a ward. Some of the rights that the individual may lose are the following:

  • Vote
  • Travel
  • Get Married
  • Contract
  • Give consent to treatment
  • Sue other people
  • Defend lawsuits
  • Have a social life
  • Make living arrangements
  • Apply to get benefits
  • Drive
  • Manage money
  • Care for their property

Regarding minors, Florida law will appoint a guardian over the minor once their parents die or become incapacitated. There are also instances where the minor receives inheritance or proceeds from a lawsuit or if they receive an insurance policy amount that exceeds the statutes.

Types of Guardianship in Florida

If you believe that guardianship is the only option, there are different types you should consider before making a decision. These are the following:

Preneed Guardianship

A preneed guardianship is if an adult selects their guardian if they ever become incapacitated. They have to put it in writing. Once done, they must sign the document in the presence of two witnesses who are both simultaneously.

After writing and signing the document, the individual has to file it in court with the help of a lawyer. Once they become incapacitated due to an illness or accident, the court will appoint a guardian as long as they are able and equipped.

Voluntary Guardianship

A voluntary guardianship happens if an individual is able but still needs help and assistance managing their property and self-care caused by old age or physical illness. In times like these, the individual can go to court and request to be placed on voluntary guardianship.

The court will appoint another person to become a guardian that will handle some or all of the individual’s assets or properties. Furthermore, a physician must examine the individual and make sure they know what guardianship is about.

Emergency Temporary Guardianship

If the court believes that an individual is in immediate danger or their property is at risk of being wasted or lost where immediate action needs to take place to prevent this from happening, they can place that individual under temporary emergency guardianship.

This guardianship is chosen in cases where the court needs to decide if the individual is incapacitated. The roles of guardianship are given to the appointed individual in a written order. Furthermore, this type of guardianship may expire as it has time limitations.

Limited Guardianship

The court may place individuals under limited guardianship once they are partially incapacitated. Partial means they can make necessary decisions to care for themselves or their property, but not all decisions.

The individual loses some of their rights, which means the guardian can only make necessary actions or decisions, which depend on the court. Therefore, the individual keeps the rights the court hasn’t taken away.

Guardian Advocate for Individuals With Developmental Disability

A guardian advocate is placed on individuals with a developmental disability, even if they are not incapacitated. They must be diagnosed with conditions such as intellectual disability, autism, spina bifida, Down Syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, cerebral palsy, or Prader-Willi syndrome. However, only specific rights the individual can’t manage will be removed, so they can still retain some of their rights.

Guardian Advocate for Individuals Receiving Mental Health Treatment

If the court finds that an individual cannot provide consent to treatment and doesn’t have a family member that can make these decisions on their behalf, a guardian advocate is appointed. The court will prefer a person who’s a healthcare surrogate. But if there are none, they will choose from the following individuals:

  • Spouse
  • Patient’s adult child
  • Patient’s parent
  • The patient’s closest family
  • Adult friend
  • Anyone willing to become a guardian as long as they are trained

Full Plenary Guardianship

Once the court finds that an individual cannot perform all tasks necessary to care for themselves or their property, plenary guardianship is given to another person. They must be totally incapacitated, and it’s a restrictive type of guardianship that only a few require.

In this type of guardianship, the individual loses most of their civil rights. Therefore, their guardian will start making decisions for them once the guardianship is filed and adjudicated.

How to Apply for Guardianship in Florida

If you want to apply for guardianship, you may do so with the help of a Guardianship Defense in Florida Lawyer. They are the ones who will draft and file the petition for you. After that, the court will appoint a lawyer for the alleged incapacitated person. A three-person committee of medical professionals will examine the incapacitated person for both physical and mental health.

Once done, they will file their own findings in court. Within ten to thirty days of the committee filing their reports, the judge will conduct an Adjudicatory Hearing, where the judge will decide if the person truly needs a guardian.

Care for the Ones You Love by Applying for a Guardianship

Watching a loved one lose their ability to care for themselves can be heart-wrenching. But it’s time for you to step up and become their ward. You can do this with the help of a Florida Guardianship lawyer who can represent you in court.

Smith & Eulo offers extensive legal counsel through their team of experienced lawyers. If you need help regarding guardianship, contact us right now and schedule a consultation.

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