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Types Of Guardianship


In Florida, guardianship occurs when a person (the guardian) is appointed to exercise some, or all, of the rights of an incapacitated individual (the ward). Some rights a person can lose after a guardian has been appointed include the right to travel, work, vote, and choose living arrangements, among many others. Because of the effect of guardianship (i.e., a person’s rights being given to another person to carry out on their behalf), guardians are only appointed when no other alternatives can meet the needs of the individual with a disability.

There are different types of guardianship in Florida. The right guardianship is the one that is the LEAST RESTRICTIVE necessary to protect the interests of the Ward. It is the one that is specific to the incapacitated individual’s needs and abilities. Below, we discuss the different types of guardianship in Florida.

Preneed Guardianship

According to Florida statute 744.3045, a competent adult can name someone who will become their guardian in the event that they become incapacitated. To name someone who will become their guardian in the event that they become incapacitated in the future, the adult with capacity needs to make a “written declaration”. According to the law, such a written declaration can be filed with the appropriate Clerk of Courts.

If the declarant becomes incapacitated in the future, the Court is required to produce the declaration. However, the Court is not obligated to appoint the preneed guardian if they are found to be unqualified to serve as a guardian.

Voluntary Guardianship

People who are mentally competent but incapable of the care, custody, and management of their estate by reason of age or physical condition can petition the court to be placed in voluntary guardianship. However, a petitioner can only be placed in voluntary guardianship if a licensed physician confirms that they have examined the petitioner and found that they are competent to understand the nature of the guardianship. If a guardian is appointed, they’ll be tasked with managing some or all of the property of the individual under the guardianship.

Emergency Temporary Guardianship

According to Florida Statute 744.3031, after a party files a petition for determination of incapacity, the Court may choose someone to serve as an emergency temporary guardian before a guardian is appointed. An emergency temporary guardian may be appointed if the Court finds that the individual may be in imminent danger or if the individual’s property is in danger of being misappropriated, wasted, or lost unless action is taken immediately.

Limited Guardianship

If an individual is found to be only “partially incapacitated”, they may be placed under what is called a “limited guardianship”. Under limited guardianship, the guardian only has the right to take the actions specified by the court.

Full/Plenary Guardianship

This is the most restrictive of all the guardianship types in Florida. Full guardianship entails a guardian exercising all delegable legal rights of the ward. Because of this, a person can only be placed under this type of guardianship if they are found to be totally incapacitated.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Guardianship Attorney

If you need more information on guardianship in Florida, contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale guardianship attorney at the law offices of Joyce A. Julian, P.A.


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