A guardian is appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the ward.There are two types of guardianships. The first is for a minor who will be receiving monies of $15,000.00 or more from a lawsuit settlement, wrongful death beneficiary, insurance policy award, or inheritance. Florida law presumes that a minor is unable to manage a substantial amount of money correctly. Therefore, the guardian's role is to look out for the child's best interests until the minor turns 18 years of age. The other instance, at the opposite end of the continuum of life, most often involves the elderly. A guardian is appointed to watch over the ward's health and safety and manage the ward's finances and property because the ward no longer has the mental capacity to perform those daily tasks.
An involuntary guardianship places the decisions the ward would make about his or her health, well-being, and property in the hands of a family member or professional guardian. A court must find that the ward is incapacitated before it can appoint a guardian. The court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the ward is unable to take care of his or her daily needs and tasks and is unable to make sound financial decisions and manage their money.
A guardian can be appointed just for the person to care for the ward's health and daily needs or for the property to handle the ward's finances and property. The court can make the guardianship plenary which means to take care of the ward's person and property.
Recent events in the State of Florida involving professional guardians demonstrate the importance of having a qualified or appropriate guardian appointed. For more information, click on the link below.