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How Does Guardianship Work?

May 5, 2020

Families often set up a durable power of attorney to help ensure that someone can better care for an elderly parent or loved one. While this enables them to oversee their estate, the power is often limited.

Often chosen by the courts or when executing a will or legal document, a guardian takes that role a step further because they can make legal decisions and other significant life decisions for those (often referred to as wards) who are incapable of making those decisions for themselves. This arrangement can be ongoing, or it can be during a period of incapacity that can be a physical disability or a psychological disorder, such as treatment for addiction. It often is used for elderly who are unable to manage their affairs.

Florida guardianship can be voluntary or involuntary, but it stipulates that it should be the least restrictive form possible. If the person is to become a ward, the guardian must care for the ward to the best of their ability.

Common Decisions Made

Guardians are surrogate decision-makers who can:

  • Give consent for medical treatment

  • Use a ward’s funds to purchase food, household items, and personal items

  • Manage bank accounts and finances

It is Necessary to Work With an Attorney

Guardians must work with an estate law attorney when dealing with the Florida courts, which will still have oversight over the guardian’s work on behalf of the ward. This partnership also helps ensure that the guardian is appointed in a timely manner and follows the law with the ideal outcome of safe care for the ward and peace of mind for loved ones.