Regardless of how healthy and independent your parents are, you could become responsible for managing their finances at some point. Whether this happens as a result of disability or incapacity, you will need to pay their bills and assist them with making important decisions.
If a court appoints you as a guardian for your mother or father, learning about your fiduciary duties will be essential to legally fulfill your role. Naturally, you want to protect your loved one’s best interests. As such, there are many factors you must consider.
Seven duties that apply to guardianship
As a guardian of someone’s property, you are considered an agent of the court. Therefore, you could face consequences if your loved one experiences a financial loss, or you mismanage his or her funds.
Among other considerations, you must:
- Maintain detailed records of the financial transactions you make on your parent’s behalf
- Keep your finances completely separate to help avoid any possible confusion of a conflict of interest between accounts
- Fulfill the state’s guardian education requirement
- Be watchful for signs of potential financial exploitation, such as missing money or a drastic change in spending habits
- Inventory your loved one’s money, property, debts and legal matters
- Follow the court order closely to minimize the risk of allegations related to fraud or theft
- Be aware of scams that could negatively affect your parent
Whether you are trying to determine if one of your parents needs a guardian or you are doing your best to help your family, making informed decisions is a significant part of the process.
As a guardian in Florida, you must secure attorney representation to help you fulfill your duties. Your lawyer can advise you on how to respect your loved one’s best interests in accordance with the court’s requirements.