Guardianship is a legal relationship between the guardian and the ward. The term ward describes a person whom the court has declared legally incapacitated and has had some or all of their rights removed.
It is important to understand that guardianship should be a last resort and established only in cases where lesser restrictive means of intervention are not possible. Our attorneys can help you determine the legal course of action that best suits you and your family.
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Depending on the determination of the court and what will best serve the needs of the ward, the court may appoint a guardian of the person only, a guardian of property only or a guardian of the person and property.
The guardian of the person has the authority to exercise only the personal rights that have been removed from the ward by the court and delegated to the guardian.
The guardian of the property has the authority to exercise only the rights that have been removed from the ward by the court and delegated to the guardian. However, the guardian of the property does not have the authority to sell, transfer, mortgage or donate any of the ward's property without prior approval from the court. It will be up to the court to determine if any proposed transactions are appropriate for the ward.
The guardian of the person and property has been given the responsibility by the court to make decisions regarding both the personal and property rights of the ward. It will be the responsibility of the guardian of the person and property to file with the court all the required initial and annual reports.
Florida statutes require a guardian of the property to be appointed in cases where a minor receives a net settlement in excess of $15,000 as a result of a personal injury, property damage or wrongful death. The court, without adjudication of incapacity, may appoint a parent, sibling, next of kin or another person interested in the minor's welfare as the guardian. The guardianship will terminate upon the minor reaching the age of majority even if the guardian believes the ward lacks the maturity to properly handle the assets to which the ward is entitled. Guardianship of a minor, which is a legal relationship between the guardian and the ward, should not be confused with custody of the minor.
Whether one is dealing with a minor whose assets must be managed by another or an adult with a disability who is not capable of making decisions for themself, when the court removes an individual's rights to order their own affairs, there is an accompanying duty to protect the individual. One of the court's duties is to appoint a guardian. All adult and minor guardianships are subject to court oversight. Our attorneys will work with you to ensure that your loved one is cared for in the best way possible.
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