Orlando Guardianship Attorney
Hancock & Associates. P.A. works throughout Orlando, Tampa and neighboring communities in central Florida to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Minors, as well as adults who have become incapacitated either mentally or physically, are vulnerable to exploitation if they don’t have a caring and trusted individual to look out for them. Florida law provides a guardianship process whereby a legal guardian can be appointed to make important legal, financial and medical decisions on behalf of a ward who is not able to make those decisions for him or herself. Our Orlando guardianship attorneys works throughout central Florida to assist individuals through the Florida guardianship process, and make sure that their rights are protected and their interests are represented every step of the way.
An Overview of the Florida Guardianship Process
A guardian may be sought for a minor whose parents have died or been institutionalized, or where the parents have been declared unfit in a dependency hearing. A guardianship may also be obtained for an adult who is physically or mentally incapacitated and cannot take care of his or her financial, legal, medical or self-care needs. A guardian may be appointed over the ward’s person, property or both. Also, the powers of the guardian may be limited to certain activities, or the guardian may be granted full legal authority to act on behalf of the ward, which is known as a plenary guardianship. Typical duties of a guardian may be to enter into contracts, pursue or defend lawsuits, make healthcare decisions, decide on a residence, and buy and sell property on the ward’s behalf, subject to court approval. A guardian of the person will need to file a plan with the court and update it annually; a guardian of the property is required to provide an inventory and regular accounting of the property.
The process for obtaining a guardianship in Florida is basically a four-step process:
- Petition – Although typically filed by a family member, Florida law allows any competent adult to file a petition regarding any other individual. This petition is filed with the court and should state the reasons whey the petitioner believes a guardianship is needed.
- Examination – A three-member committee is appointed by the court to determine whether the individual is capable or incapable of making their own decisions. This committee typically includes a psychiatrist or other doctor, a social worker, and another health care professional.
- Hearing – In a courtroom hearing, the report of the examination committee will be discussed, and the judge will make a determination whether the person is in fact incapacitated. The judge will also decide if a guardianship is needed, or if any less restrictive options may be preferable.
- Appointment – If the judge decides in favor of a guardianship, the court will appoint a guardian and issue Letters of Guardianship, which will describe the powers and duties the guardian has and authorize the guardian to act accordingly on the ward’s behalf.
Hancock & Associates, P.A. helps concerned family members and others obtain a guardianship over a loved one in need; we can also help protect the rights of a potential ward. Our practice includes voluntary, involuntary and contested guardianships in Florida. Additionally, through our comprehensive family law and estate planning practice, we work to avoid unnecessary litigation or conflict through the establishment of pre-need guardianships for LGBT couples and other family members.
Talk to a Dedicated and Experienced Orlando Guardianship Attorney
To learn more about the guardianship process in Florida and discuss whether a guardianship is needed in your particular situation, contact our Orlando Guardianship Attorney at Hancock & Associates, P.A. at 407-894-0853 for a consultation at our offices in Orlando or Tampa.