Plenary guardianship is a legal tool used by any interested person to get the control of an individual person or property. You might need to file for plenary guardianship for your loved-one. We are aware that helping your incapacitated loved-ones can be very challenging. Often times, they need 24 hours supervision and support because they are unable to take care of themselves, thus needing help with their daily care or needs. Unfortunately, you need special authorization such as a power of attorney, an advance directive or a healthcare surrogate in order to make certain decisions on behalf of your incapacitated family member or friend. In the absence of these types of legal consent executed by that incapacitated person, you are required to apply for Plenary Guardianship to have care, custody and control of their loved-ones’ property and person.
The Definition of Guardianship in Florida
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian (such as a caretaker or a family member) is appointed to exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated person. A guardian may be an individual or institution (such as a nonprofit corporation or bank trust department) that the Court appoints to care for an incapacitated person and/or that person’s assets. The incapacitated person is called a “ward.” When the ward is unable to take care of himself/herself and manage daily activities, the court will appoint a plenary guardian to exercise all the rights deem necessary to care for the ward’s person or property.
Starting the Plenary Guardianship Process
To start the Plenary Guardianship process, as the proposed guardian you need to file several documents with the Court. You must file a Petition for Appointment of Guardian and a Petition to Determine Incapacity at the same time. In addition, you must file an Application for Appointment as Guardian, which asks the court to appoint you as the guardian, a mandatory checklist and the oath of guardian. You will have to have your fingerprints taken and sent directly to the Court.
Determining the Incapacitated Person
In a Plenary Guardianship application, the court determines that your loved-one is incapacitated based on the petition that you file explaining why you believe that he/she is incapacitated. As a result, the court will appoint a committee of three members to examine and establish that your loved-one is in fact incapable of managing daily living activities. One of the three members of the committee must have knowledge of the type of incapacity alleged in your petition, and each member of the committee must submit a report of findings to the court. The examination normally includes: a physical examination, a mental health examination and a functional assessment.
If the examining committee finds that your loved-one is unable to exercise certain rights, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the person is totally or partially incapacitated. Once the Court finds that your loved-one is incapacitated in any respect, the Court will appoint you as guardian at the end of the incapacity hearing.
The qualification of the Guardian
Any adult resident of Florida, related or unrelated to the potential ward, can serve as a guardian. Certain relatives of the ward who do not live in Florida also may serve as guardian. However, people who have been convicted of a felony or who are incapable of carrying out the duties of a guardian cannot be appointed. Individuals who are professional or public guardians can serve as guardian. Additionally, institutions such as a bank trust department or nonprofit corporation can be appointed guardian, but a bank trust department may act as guardian only of the property. The court gives consideration to the wishes expressed by the incapacitated person in a written declaration of pre-need guardian or at the hearing. The court may not appoint a guardian in some circumstances in which a conflict of interest may occur.
Duties and Responsibilities of the Guardian
Because you were given authority over property of the ward you are required to inventory the property, invest it prudently, use it for the ward’s support and account for it by filing detailed annual reports with the court. In addition, you must obtain court approval for certain financial transactions.
As the guardian, you may exercise those rights that have been removed from your loved-one and delegated to you, such as providing medical, mental and personal care services and determining the place and kind of residential setting best suited for your loved-one. You must also present to the court every year a detailed plan for your loved-ones’ care along with a physician’s report.
The Guardianship application maybe complicated if you are not familiar with the process. Our office will guide you through this process in the most efficient and expedited fashion.
Contact our office: 2410 Hollywood Blvd,
Hollywood, FL 33020