Our firm represents clients in the probate of a deceased estate and guardianship matters. We also assist clients with estate planning in the preparation of wills, living wills, powers of attorney and health care surrogates.
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit courts of Florida in which a guardian is appointed to exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated person and is governed by Chapter 744, Florida Statutes. A guardian is an individual or institution appointed by the court to care for an incapacitated person — called a “ward” or for the ward’s assets. An incapacitated person is an adult who has been judicially determined to lack the capacity to manage at least some of his or her property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements of the person
How is a person determined to be incapacitated in Orlando?
Any adult may file with the court a petition to determine another person’s incapacity setting forth the facts upon which they base their 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 its 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?
Any adult resident of Florida can serve as guardian, as can certain institutions. A close relative of the ward who does not live in Florida can also serve as guardian.
What does a guardian do?
A guardian who is given authority over any property of the ward must make a list of the property, invest it prudently, use it for the ward’s support, and account for it by filing annual reports with the court. In addition, the guardian must obtain court approval for certain financial transactions. The guardian of the person may decide what medical, mental and personal care services are appropriate and determine the place and kind of residential setting best suited for the ward. The guardian of the person must also present to the court every year a plan for the ward’s care.
If you are seeking counsel for probate, contact the Orlando probate law attorneys of Veliz Katz Law for a consultation.