Miami Guardianship Lawyers Helping You Through The Guardianship Process
As people get older or face health challenges, they may no longer be capable of taking care of themselves or doing the basic tasks necessary for an adult in the modern world. However, there is a legal process known as guardianship that can be a helpful option when a loved one has become hindered.
In a guardianship process, the court grants an individual the authority to make important health or financial decisions for a person incapacitated, and thus unable to do so themselves.
Although this may seem like a straightforward procedure, guardianship cases can get complicated, leading to disputes between loved ones and the court. If you or a loved one are considering how guardianship may be beneficial to you, we urge you to reach out to our legal team at Miami Family Law Group to help you mitigate such issues from arising in the first place.
At Miami Family Law Group, our skilled family law attorneys know the ins n outs of Florida guardianship law. We can help answer your questions, guide you through the guardianship process, and represent you if necessary.
To speak with an attorney and get started protecting the rights and interests of you and your loved one's today. Dial 305-520-7874.
Our Miami Guardianship Lawyer Helps You Understand Guardianship Guidelines in Florida
Guardianship is a legal, court-established relationship that allows a person (the guardian) to make decisions on behalf of another person (the ward) who cannot make decisions for themself.
Typically, the court appoints guardians in two types of cases:
- to allow a person to make decisions for minor children if their parents are unable to
- to allow an individual to make decisions for a person incapacitated due to mental disability or illness.
A guardian is obligated to make decisions in the ward's best interest.
Understanding Legal Guardianship in Florida
What Are the Types of Guardianships?
In Florida, there are several types of child and adult guardianship to choose from depending on the needs of everyone involved, such as:
As you might assume, emergency guardianship can be an option for individuals immediately in harm's way, such as those needing emergency medical treatment or in need of getting out of a dangerous situation. To process an emergency guardianship, a court may grant the guardianship after a brief hearing and, in some cases, without a hearing. Emergency guardianships are not a long-term solution, as they only grant limited authority, but they can be a precursor to permanent guardianship.
Conservatorship is a court-granted form of guardianship that mostly applies to decisions regarding an individual's finances, assets, and estate. There are two main types of conservatorships in Florida: limited and general. A limited conservatorship is typically used for people with mental disabilities, whereas general conservatorships tend to be used with incapacitated adults who are unable to handle their finances because of mental issues or impairments. To process a conservatorship in Florida, a petition requesting a conservatorship must be requested from the court.
In the case both parents of a child pass away, a testamentary guardianship can be granted. This type of guardianship is usually determined beforehand in a will, where parents will identify who they wish to act as guardian of either their minor child or an adult child with a disability in the event of their death. If the preferred guardian is unable to take on the role, a court may appoint a different guardian.
Temporary guardianships can be granted by a court for a determined amount of time to fulfill certain roles. For example, if a parent is sentenced to prison, temporary guardianship can be granted over their minor children while the parent completes their sentence.
Limited guardianship works as it sounds; limitedly. In this type of guardianship, the guardian is granted specific and limited decision-making authority. Limited guardianships usually permit decision-making power for things that are only needed for a certain period, such as medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated due to a medical problem. (e.g. coma)
What Are the Requirements to Serve as a Guardian in Florida?
To become a legal guardian in Florida, it is necessary to meet a handful of prerequisites. First, you need to be at least 18 years old. Next, you must be a legal resident of the United States, except in the case you are a close relative of the person you wish to be the guardian of. As well, you must be in a good mental and emotional state and be capable of making responsible decisions for someone else.
If you have a history of felonies, abuse, neglect, or exploitation, that will disqualify you from being a legal guardian. In the case that you will be managing finances as a guardian, you may need to post a bond to protect the individual's assets.
Under Florida law, completing a guardian education course is required of all guardians. The court gives you 4 months to finish the course after you've been appointed guardian. If everything is in order, the court will then determine if you are fit for the job and, if so, approve you as a guardian.
These requirements can vary depending on what type of guardianship is being sought and the specifics of the case. Regardless, a guardianship attorney can guide you through the process and make sure you're on the right track.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian in Florida?
A guardian's exact responsibilities depend on the circumstances surrounding the guardianship appointment and orders from the court. However, in Florida, guardians related to the ward need to at least fulfill the following responsibilities before they can assume a guardianship position:
- Attend an eight-hour educational course
- Submit to a criminal and background check
After completing these tasks, the person will need to act in the best interest of the ward while fulfilling the duties laid out by the court. They may also need to report back to the court and complete the required forms throughout the guardianship relationship.
How to Obtain a Florida Guardianship
Although the process of guardianship can vary depending on the case, the people involved, and the circumstances of those people, the general process typically follows these steps:
Determining the type of guardianship - First, figure out which kind of guardianship suits the needs of those involved. This can vary depending if the guardianship involves caring for a minor, an incapacitated person, or simply managing someone's property.
Making the petition for guardianship - Filing a petition involves gathering the necessary documents, filling out the required paperwork, paying the correct fees, and submitting the petition to the court.
Serving a notice - It's important to make sure all involved parties are informed of the guardianship process and their rights. Parties such as the individual who will have guardianship over them (known as the ward), the relatives, and any other person relevant to the process should be informed.
Court evaluation - An evaluator may be assigned by the court to investigate the situation. An examining committee may look into the case to determine if the ward is truly incapacitated or not. The investigating party will be in charge of providing a report to the court that explains the need for guardianship and the suitability of the potential guardian.
Attending Court hearings - It's likely court hearings will be part of the process. This typically includes an initial hearing where the court reviews the petition along with any relevant information. Then there is a final hearing where the court determines if guardianship is necessary and approves the guardianship if everything is in order.
Letter of guardianship - Following the approval of the guardianship, you will soon receive a letter of guardianship that grants you the legal right to act as the guardian.
Fulfilling responsibilities and annual reporting - Once you've received the official letters and received the court order, you can now embrace your role as guardian. However, this is a serious responsibility and requires you to stay up to date with the appropriate tasks. Along with newfound responsibilities, an annual report must be filed with the court to ensure the guardianship is going well.
Although the above is the typical path to obtaining guardianship, each situation can vary depending on the details and specifics involved. Guardianships can become a complicated process that can grow to be a serious weight on those involved. Working with an experienced guardianship attorney is a sure way to minimize the stress of securing guardianship, allowing you and your loved ones to move forward with your lives faster.
How Can a Guardianship Attorney Be a Help to You
Guardianship matters can get overwhelming, making a guardianship attorney invaluable aid in the process. Here are some ways our guardianship attorneys can be a help to you:
A Legal Guide - A guardianship attorney knows the intricacies of the law surrounding guardianship and conservatorships well. They can simplify the legal wording for you, explain the clear-cut requirements, and help you complete the documentation needed to complete the process properly and quickly.
Representation and litigation - It's expected that your guardianship proceedings will involve several court hearings. A lawyer can represent your interests and advocate on your behalf. Our lawyers know how to present cases, protect our client's rights, and fight for the best outcome for both our clients and their loved ones.
Conflict resolution - It is not unknown for family disputes or conflicts to arise in a guardianship case. However, your guardianship attorney can act as a peacemaker, helping you to negotiate and mediate such disputes, relieving you and your family of further burdens.
Ensure compliance - Guardianship comes with specific legal requirements, but an attorney can guide you through the maze of notices, evaluation reports, and education courses, making sure you stay on track and avoid any potential missteps.
Ongoing support - Following the granting of guardianship, there are ongoing responsibilities for you to comply with. A guardianship attorney can provide you with continued support, answer additional questions, provide further legal guidance, and help with annual reports.
Guardianship can become a draining legal matter, but with experienced legal aid at your side, you can feel confident that your interests and rights are protected.
Speak With a Miami Guardianship Attorney at Miami Family Law Group
Whether you are considering how guardianship may help you, your family, or any other loved one, our team at Miami Family Law Group is available to answer your questions. Taking on guardianship, whether it's of a child or an adult, is a major responsibility that deserves the utmost attention and care.
At our law offices, our attorneys are well-versed in the realm of guardianship and can help you from the beginning stages of determining what guardianship suits your situation best, to the final stages of authorizing the guardianship in the state of Florida. So you and your loved ones can move forward with the adjustments of decision-making power.
Our attorneys at Miami Family Law Group have been practicing law in Miami, Florida for decades, and understand what a big step and adjustment legal guardianship can be. Let yourself prioritize your and your loved one's needs by letting our lawyers handle the complicated legal side of guardianship for you.
Start working with a Miami, Florida guardianship attorney today! Call 305-520-7874.