What Is Guardianship?

What Is Guardianship?

February 11, 2020

Even when you’re young and healthy, things can happen that may incapacitate you or a loved one. If you’ve never given thought to whom you might want to be responsible for you, should you be unable to make your own medical or legal decisions, you might want to consider designating a potential guardian in your living trust.

A guardian is a person who is allowed to make legal decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, and can either be appointed by the court or designated in a living trust. Just like having a will, it’s always smart to designate a potential guardian ahead of time, so you can be secure in the knowledge that the right person will be taking care of you. To draw up legal documents regarding your own guardianship, visit an estate lawyer in Miami, FL.

How guardianship works in Florida

Guardianship is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida state statutes. When a person is legally incapacitated, that means they’re unable to manage their essential health and safety requirements. For example, people suffering from dementia or those who are hospital-bound with serious illnesses for long periods of time are strong candidates for guardianship.

If you haven’t designated a guardian in your own living trust, the court will appoint one for you. First, someone will file with the court to determine that you are indeed incapacitated. If they agree, they will then appoint a guardian—either the person you chose, or, if you’re incapacitated without having previously made your wishes known, they will appoint someone who will serve in your best interests.

Anyone who has been convicted of a felony will not be allowed to serve as a guardian. Moreover, even if you designated a guardian in your legal documents, if the court believes they are not qualified to perform the duties, they can appoint someone else. Even banks and non-profits can act as guardians. (In the case of banks, they will only be able to make property-related decisions.)

Guardians are required to inventory your property, record it and take care of it wisely. For some people, this will mean paying bills out of your bank account. For others, it might involve making smart investments. To ensure oversight, a guardian is required to file a detailed accounting with the court on a yearly basis.

If the court finds that your guardian has not followed the procedures for guardianship, they may remove that person as guardian and appoint another.

Estate lawyer in Miami, FL

Whether you need wills, trusts or a living trust set up, you need the services of a skilled estate lawyer. Ruben J. Padron, PA can help you draft all the documents for your end-of-life or emergency care. While we hope you stay healthy and happy for the rest of your life and live for years to come, leaving guardianship up to chance can be a drain on your family’s resources during a very trying time. Call us today to make arrangements for your or a loved one’s guardianship options.

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