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Understanding guardianship types and duties

| Jan 5, 2021 | Elder Law

Becoming a guardian to an adult loved one in Florida may involve day-to-day responsibilities or require your time only in certain types of situations. If you believe a loved one needs a guardian, you should understand the duties it entails before taking official action.

According to the Florida Courts, state law provides for limited and plenary adult guardianship. Limited guardianship typically encompasses specific tasks the ward lacks the capacity for, such as handling finances. The court appoints a plenary guardian when a ward cannot care for themselves.

Forms of limited guardianship

The responsibilities of a guardian depend on the specific type of guardianship the court has granted to you. It requires that you avoid the appearance of impropriety when handling your ward’s affairs and any conflict of interest.

  • Guardianship of the person – You have responsibility for your ward’s personal care matters, including residential placement and healthcare.
  • Guardianship of the estate – You have the responsibility for financial and legal matters.
  • Successor guardianship – The court will appoint a replacement guardian if the existing guardian dies or resigns while the ward is still alive. It may apply to the person, the estate or both.
  • Testamentary guardianship – The parent appointed you as the guardian of a disabled person in his or her will.

The law requires that you seek out and rely upon professional legal and financial assistance if and when appropriate.

Duties involved with guardianship

Guardianship encompasses certain essential duties, regardless of type. While you may or may not have physical custody of your loved one, you have the responsibility for making decisions regarding living arrangements, healthcare and personal care to the extent specified in the guardianship order. You must also file periodic written reports describing your ward’s current situation; whether that person is a parent or an adult disabled loved one.

Learn more about guardianship and becoming an advocate for an incapacitated loved one here.