Guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of a disabled or incapacitated person. In Florida, the circuit courts have jurisdiction over guardianship matters. The disabled or incapacitated person is referred to as the “ward.” There are several different types of disability or incapacity, including being a minor child with no living parents, being a mentally ill or handicapped adult, being an elderly person with dementia, being disabled by injury (for example a stroke), being so impaired by substance abuse that the person is effectively disabled. In general, a person is “disabled” for guardianship purposes if the person is unable to conduct his or her personal or business affairs or lacks the physical or mental capacity to care for his or her support needs, which may be due to minority (under 18), old age, illness, substance abuse, mental illness, birth defect, traumatic accident, etc. So a guardianship is a state stepping in to help someone who cannot properly care for himself to receive care and assistance. A guardian is an institution or an individual who is appointed by the court to care for that person.
To learn more about guardianship administration in Florida, visit our guardianship practice areas page.