A guardianship is a legal relationship established between the guardian and the ward. When a person is deemed to be legally incapacitated, the court will establish a guardianship where the ward is the incapacitated individual and the guardian becomes a surrogate decision-maker, acting on behalf of the ward and appointed by the court. A guardianship may also be established for a minor who is not incapacitated, but still needs someone to look after them and act on their behalf.
The role of the guardian, in any circumstance, comes with substantial responsibilities that must be properly executed. A guardian can be held accountable for a failure to properly uphold his or her duties regarding acts taken on behalf of a minor or an incapacitated individual.
What Are the Duties of a Guardian?
The duties of a guardian will depend on what has been authorized by the court. What the court will authorize will largely depend on the needs of the ward and his or her circumstances. A guardian may be authorized to be a guardian of property, a guardian of the person, or both.
A guardian of property will be tasked with managing the property of the incapacitated person or the minor child. This will likely involve things like taking an inventory of property. It could also mean making or managing financial investments on behalf of the ward. Whatever the court has authorized you to do, it is very important to keep a detailed record of every action you take on behalf of the ward. The court will require an annual accounting of how you managed the assets of the ward. In every action you take, whether it be a purchase or payment of bills, it must be in the best interest of the ward. If you are unsure of whether an action is in the best interest of the court, you may wish to seek court permission or refrain from the act altogether.
If you are appointed guardian of a person, you will essentially assume the legal rights of the ward that were removed from them when they were adjudicated incapacitated by the court. This means you will be in charge of securing adequate personal and medical care for the ward. You must also submit an Annual Guardianship Plan to the court. The plan lets the court know where the ward is located and whether their healthcare needs are being met. A recent doctor’s report is also submitted with the annual plan which will advise the court of whether or not the guardianship is still necessary.
Providing Trusted Legal Counsel to Court-Appointed Guardians
The Florida Probate Code details the lengthy list of guardian responsibilities. Florida law also requires that a guardian be represented by a Florida probate and estate administration attorney. There are only limited situations where a court will allow a guardian to proceed pro se once he or she has been appointed. Verras Law provides trusted legal counsel to guardians. Contact Verras Law today.