Stuart Guardianship Lawyer

Unfortunately, as many of us get older, there comes a time when we can no longer manage our affairs. Children lose parents to death or incapacitation. For both elders and children in these situations, guardianships provide protection. The term "guardianship" simply means a legal proceeding in which a person designated by the court to be a "guardian" exercises the legal rights of a "ward". A ward is someone who has been determined by the court to be partially or totally incapacitated. At The Gufford Law Firm, P.A., our Stuart guardianship attorneys provide a broad range of services to clients who need to establish, challenge or defend a guardianship.

Port St. Lucie Elder Guardian Attorneys

There are three broad categories of guardians: family, professional and public. At The Gufford Law Firm, P.A., we can help you understand the differences between the types of guardians and help you determine which would be best for your family.

  • Family guardians
  • Professional guardian
  • Public guardian
  • Natural guardians
  • Voluntary guardians
  • Emergency guardians

We can also help you understand the differences between plenary guardians, limited guardians and preneed guardians for both minors and adults.

How Is A Person Determined To Be Incapacitated?

Any adult may file with the court a petition to determine another person's incapacity setting forth the facts upon which he or she bases his or her belief that the person is incapacitated. The court then appoints a committee of two professionals, usually physicians, and a lay person to examine the person and report their findings to the court. The court also appoints an attorney to represent the person alleged to be incapacitated. If the examining committee concludes that the alleged incapacitated person is not incapacitated in any way, the court will dismiss the petition. If the examining committee finds the person to be incapable of exercising certain rights, however, the court schedules a hearing to determine whether the person is totally or partially incapacitated. A guardian is usually appointed at the end of the incapacity hearing.

Who May Serve As Guardian?

Pursuant to Fla. Stat. 744.309, the following persons may be appointed as guardians:

  • Residents
  • Nonresidents
  • Trust companies, state bank or savings associations, national banks or federal savings and loan associations
  • Nonprofit corporate guardians
  • Health care providers

The law prohibits some individuals from serving as guardians. Those individuals include:

  • Convicted felons
  • Incapacitated persons
  • Persons who have committed acts of abuse in the past
  • Persons who provide services to the ward

What Does A Guardian Do?

A guardian essentially does those things that the ward cannot do for himself or herself. A guardian typically takes control of the ward's property and makes arrangements for the ward's daily needs. An annual guardianship report is required under which the guardian advises the court of the overall financial condition of the ward's property.

Contact The Gufford Law Firm, P.A.

If you, or someone you know, need a guardianship action prosecuted or defended, please contact The Gufford Law Firm, P.A. in Stuart, Florida. Our lawyers will sit down with you and determine the best approach to the often difficult emotional and legal issues raised.