In the event that a family member or loved one is not capable of taking care of their own legal and financial affairs, you may want to apply for guardianship. This could be an aging family member who is dealing with deteriorating mental faculties, or a minor who is not yet comfortable managing their own affairs. Guardianship can also apply to adults who are developmentally disabled or psychologically impaired.
When guardianship is appointed by a court, it gives the guardian the authority to make decisions for the individual – also known as the “ward” – with the express intent of working towards their best interests. However, guardianship is not easily granted by courts, and there are many complicated legal matters to consider. At Beller & Bustamante, we have experience handling guardianship matters, and we can help you work through this process. To get you started, the following are some of the significant aspects involved in guardianship cases.
Who Qualifies for Guardianship?
The easiest way to qualify as a guardian in Florida is to be over 18 and a resident of the same state as the ward. If you are not a resident of the same state, then you must be a relative, an adopted child or parent, or the spouse of a relative or adopted child or parent. Additionally, you cannot have any felony convictions.
How to Apply for Guardianship
There are three steps that must be taken to be considered for a guardianship:
- Petition to Determine Incapacity – This is used to establish the ward’s need for a guardian, and will involve the court appointing a three-member committee to determine if the claim is valid. Each of the members must be members of the medical community, one of which will be a psychologist, the other two will be specialists in fields relevant to the ward’s condition. Each will individually examine the ward and make their own assessments before coming to a decision as a committee.
- Petition for Appointment of Guardian – This is a document that must be filed to request the court to assign a guardian to the ward.
- Application for Appointment as Guardian – This application is what you use to establish your candidacy as the guardian of the ward. After filing this, your qualifications will be assessed, and, if all goes well, you will be granted guardianship.
Each Guardianship Case Is Unique
Guardianship should not be taken lightly, as it entails a great deal of responsibility. You will be expected to care for the ward’s health and financial concerns, including managing their properties and making decisions about where they will live. Additionally, there are many possible outcomes to an appeal for guardianship, including limited guardianship, in which the guardian only has responsibility over certain aspects of the ward’s life, such as their health but not their finances. Much of this can depend on whether or not the guardianship is contested by other relatives or loved one. If the guardianship is contested, the legal process can be drawn out, and the court will be less willing to grant full guardianship.
Contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L., for Your Guardianship Needs
Because of the complicated nature of these cases, you should hire an experienced legal team to represent you and help you through the process. At Beller & Bustamante, we have extensive experience working with guardianship appeals, and we would be happy to help you with yours. Call us today at (904) 288-4414 for a consultation, or send us an email through our contact page and we will get back to you shortly.