There are times in life when an adult may need the guidance and support of a guardian. Guardianship for adults is often legally different than guardianship for minors.
As an adult, an individual may have previously experienced full mental faculties and independence and being appointed a guardian often removes their rights to make decisions about their life that they were previously capable of doing.
When an adult is appointed a guardian, they become a“ward” in terms of the law, and in Florida’s guardianship statutes, the ward’s wishes must be considered and they must be allowed to participate in life altering decisions.
There is a process that must take place in order to determine whether an adult’s ability to make decisions is significantly impaired to the extent that adult guardianship is in their best interests.
A process must be followed in order to have an adult be appointed a guardian. The first step is to hire an attorney who can then draft and file a petition with the prospective ward’s local court, and the court will then appoint an attorney to represent them.
An examination of the prospective ward will also need to be completed and is typically conducted by three medical professionals, including a physician or a psychiatrist. Once the committee of medical professionals files their reports, the judge conducts an Adjudicatory Hearing to decide whether a guardian is necessary.
There are different types of guardianships for adults in Florida.
The guardian exercises all delegable legal right and powers of their ward and is very rarely appointed.
This type of guardian exercises court specified rights and powers of their ward and is typically appointed when the individual is partially incapacitated.
The guardian is often appointed when the incapacitated individual may pose a physical or mental danger to themselves or others.
This type of guardian may be appointed to help manage property if the individual files a voluntary petition for guardianship and can be terminated by the ward.
The guardian is appointed by the prospective ward in advance of potentially becoming incapacitated in the future.
Guardianship for adults can be an emotionally challenging process for the incapacitated individual and their loved ones. Hiring an attorney is often necessary for filing a petition with the courts but can also help make the process easier--legally and emotionally.
With over 26 years of experience with Guardianship law, Audra Simovitch is equipped to help if you or a loved one are considering the path towards guardianship. Contact us today to learn how we can best help you.