What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is the legal process of having someone appointed to make decisions over the health and finances of another person. For many people, this means caring for a special needs child or protecting an elderly parent from abuse or fraud.
Who qualifies as guardian?
A guardian can be a family member, a close personal friend, or an independent third-party professional. A person who wishes to be a guardian must first complete an application for appointment as a guardian and list his or her qualifications to serve as a guardian.
Appointment of guardian
In an adult guardianship, the court determines whether a person is incapacitated by appointing an examining committee to evaluate the alleged incapacitated person and report their findings to the court. If an adult is determined to be incapacitated, the court may remove certain rights from the incapacitated person and delegate those rights to the appointed guardian. This gives the guardian the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person regarding those rights. Minors may also require an appointment of a guardian to take care of financial needs of the minor. This may occur when a child’s parents have passed away, a child received a settlement over $15,000, or other reasons under Florida law.
Rights of Persons Under Guardianship
All persons under guardianship retain their right to restore the rights delegated to their guardian at the earliest possible chance. A guardian must respect the wishes of the person under guardianship and may not act in a way contrary to his or her best interest. Persons placed under guardianship should be given the opportunity to be as independent as possible and may still express their preferences regarding decisions which affect their lives. Most importantly, persons under guardianship are to be treated with respect and dignity and are to be protected against any abuse or neglect they may experience.