LegalYou: Guardianship

For a variety of reasons, some people need others to make decisions for them.

For certain minors or adults that have mental or physical disabilities, a guardianship is oftentimes the answer. A guardianship is a legal proceeding where a guardian is appointed to exercise the rights of someone else.

Now, a guardian can be either an individual or an institution, such as a nonprofit organization. And the person being cared for by this guardian is called a ward. For minors whose parents are deceased or incapacitated the court is required to appoint one.

For adults, the court must rule that a person’s decision making ability is so impaired that a guardian is needed. Guardianship is only warranted when other, less limiting alternatives are not appropriate. Alternatives such as proxy, trust, durable power of attorney and health care surrogate, to name a few.

In Florida, voluntary guardianships are permitted where a mentally competent adult is incapable of managing their property and petitions for guardianship. Florida also allows two different types of adult guardianships: limited and plenary.

Limited guardianship is when a court decides someone is capable of handling some but not all of their affairs. Plenary is just a lawyer word for full or unlimited, and refers to when the court appoints someone to exercise all of the ward’s rights and powers for them.

Basically, this is the court saying, the ward cannot take care of themselves. And beyond just appointing a guardian to represent someone, there is also an implied duty to protect the individual as well.

There is accountability on the part of the guardian, whether the guardianship is permanent or not. And if there’s a conflict of interest, the court may not appoint A particular desired guardian. If you find yourself or someone you know in need of a guardian, LegalYou can provide you all the information you need.

For serious matters such as these, preparation isn’t just a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Any other questions you have regarding this or other legal matters, visit