Guardianship is a legal means of protecting an individual who, due to a mental incapacity or medical condition, is incapable of making sound personal and/or financial decisions and may be vulnerable to exploitation or abuse. If the court determines that an individual is totally or partially incapacitated, it will remove certain legal rights of that individual and appoint a Guardian to exercise certain delegable rights on behalf of the incapacitated person.
How is Guardianship established?
A Petition to Determine Incapacity may be initiated by any competent, concerned person who has knowledge of the individual's incapacity. Once the petition is filed, the Court appoints a three-member Examining Committee, consisting of at least one physician or psychiatrist. The alleged incapacitated person is examined independently by each Examining Committee member, who files a comprehensive written report of his/her findings with the Court. The examination consists of a physical exam, a mental health examination, and a functional assessment.
The Court also appoints an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person, whose rights are in question. If the alleged incapacitated person already has an attorney and that attorney is willing to so serve, that attorney can be appointed to represent the individual.
If the court adjudicates the individual as incapacitated, a guardian of the person and/or property is appointed to manage the personal and/or financial affairs of the incapacitated individual, also known as the Ward. In some cases, Co-Guardians of the Ward's Person and/or Property are appointed.
A Guardianship that has already been established in another state can be transferred to the State of Florida. Theodore A. Gollnick, P.A. has extensive experience in domesticating out-of-state Guardianships and Conservatorships, particularly those originating in Michigan.
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