Personalized and Professional Legal Guidance Informed by Nearly 20 Years of Experience
Guardianship is an important and often complex role addressed under Florida law. However, the state has outlined very specifically the powers and responsibilities of a guardian, depending on who they are caring for. Attorney Nicole Benjamin has been practicing law for nearly 20 years in Florida’s family legal system, so she can provide you the personalized and professional legal guidance you need to navigate your guardianship matters.
Call Benjamin Law at (407) 410-3850 or contact our firm online to discuss your guardianship matters in more detail.
What Is Guardianship in Florida?
Under Florida law, particularly Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes, a guardian is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities. Note that the law requires the court to appoint a guardian for minors in circumstances where the parents die or become incapacitated, or if a child receives an inheritance or proceeds of a lawsuit or insurance policy exceeding a certain amount.
Adult guardianship is usually ordered when the court finds an individual's ability to make decisions so impaired that the right should be given to another person. Guardianship is only warranted when no less restrictive alternative (e.g., durable power of attorney, trust, healthcare proxy) is found to be appropriate and available. Note that voluntary guardianships may be established for an adult who, though mentally competent, is incapable of managing their own estate and who voluntarily petitions for the appointment.
Keep in mind that Florida law provides for limited as well as absolute (plenary) adult guardianship. A limited guardianship may be appropriate if the court finds that the ward (the subject of the guardianship):
- lacks the capacity to do some of the tasks necessary to care for their person or property; and
- the individual does not have pre-planned, written instructions for all aspects of their life.
Powers and Duties of a Guardian
A guardian generally has the responsibility for making certain personal and financial decisions in the best interests of the ward. Under Stat. § 744.361, the powers and responsibilities of a guardian include:
- filing a guardianship report annually for the court’s review;
- protecting and preserving the property and investing it prudently, while keeping clear, distinct, and accurate records of the administration of the ward’s property;
- delivering the ward’s property to the person lawfully entitled to it at the termination of the guardianship;
- if authorized by the court, taking possession of all the ward’s property and the rents, income, issues, and profits from it for the payment of debts, taxes, claims, charges, and expenses of the guardianship and for the care, support, maintenance, and education of the ward or their dependents;
- considering the expressed desires of the ward when making decisions affecting the ward;
- allowing the ward to maintain contact with family and friends unless such contact may cause harm;
- assisting the ward in developing or regaining capacity, if medically possible, and notifying the court if the ward has regained capacity;
- providing medical, mental, rehabilitative, or personal care services for the welfare of the ward, if possible;
- evaluating the ward’s medical and healthcare options, financial resources, and desires when making residential decisions for the current needs of the ward;
- advocating on behalf of the ward in institutional and residential settings and regarding access to home and community-based services.
Contact Benjamin Law for Legal Guidance
If you are dealing with guardianship matters in Florida, consult with Benjamin Law for actionable legal advice in your current situation. Guardianship is a nuanced facet of family law, and an experienced attorney can better guide you through the process in Florida.
Schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Nicole Benjamin online or at (407) 410-3850 to learn more.
“Attorney Benjamin is great at what she does, I’ve used her services multiple times and always get the result I’m looking for. Very professional and very sharp at her craft. I highly recommend her services...”- David B.
“Attorney Benjamin made me feel at ease during a time I felt uncertain by communicating and keeping me informed every step of the way. Attorney Benjamin was also very thorough and very professional.”- Will
“Very professional and gets the job with integrity! If you need an attorney who will help you, I HIGHLY recommend Attorney Nicole Benjamin. I am forever grateful to her and her staff.”- Phala