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FAQ: Unified Family Court

Guardianship

Guardianship - (561) 355-6511

What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit courts of Florida in which a guardian is appointed to represent (protect) the rights of a minor or incapacitated person.

Do I need an attorney to process a guardianship?

Yes. You may want to call the Palm Beach County Bar Association's Attorney Referral Service at (561) 687-3266 or (561) 451-3256 (Boca Raton/Delray Beach, or the Legal Aid Society at (561) 655-8944.

What is an incapacitated person (also called a ward)?

An incapacitated person is a person who has been determined by the court to lack the capacity to manage at least some of their property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements of that person.

How is a person determined to be incapacitated?

A person petitions the court to determine another person’s incapacity and simultaneously petitions the court to appoint a guardian for that person. The court appoints an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person if they do not have private counsel. A committee appointed by the court examines the individual and reports their findings to the court. The court either dismisses the petition or schedules a hearing to determine the partial or total incapacity of the individual.

If the court determines the person to be incapacitated, a guardian is usually appointed for the incapacitated person.

What is a guardian?

A guardian is a person who has been appointed by the court to act on behalf of a ward’s person (Guardian of Person) or property (Guardian of Property), or both (Guardian of Person and Property)

What are some of the responsibilities of a Guardian of a Property?

Managing the property of the incapacitated person, including:

  • Taking inventory of the property
  • Investing prudentially
  • Using financial proceeds for the persons’ support
  • Filing detailed reports with the court
  • Obtaining court approval for certain financial transactions

What are some of the responsibilities of a Guardian of a Person?

Handing the responsibilities delegated in court for the person, such as

  • Providing medical, mental and personal care services
  • Determining the residential setting best suited to the person
  • Presenting a detailed plan to the court each year for the care of the incapacitated person

Is a guardianship permanent?

Not if a person partially or fully recovers from the incapacity. The court can reexamine the person and restore some or all of their rights.

What are the filing fees for the various types of Guardianship proceedings or related issues? 

Refer to Fees and Costs for current filing fees.

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