Florida Guardianship Attorney

Under Florida Statutes, Chapter 744, when an individual becomes incapacitated, the courts may appoint another individual – called a “guardian” – to act on behalf of the incapacitated person, his or her property, or both. The guardian, therefore, has the legally responsibility of taking inventory of the incapacitated individual’s property, making prudent investments on his or her behalf, and accounting for every dollar spent by filing detailed annual reports with the courts. Furthermore, if the guardian is appointed to also care for the health of the incapacitated individual, the guardian must also make short-term and long-term health care decisions. Because of the grave responsibilities a guardian undertakes, the courts require that a Florida guardianship attorney must represent the appointed guardian in all dealings when it comes to matters of the incapacitated individual’s estate.

At The Law Office of K. Hunter Goff, P.A., we understand how difficult it can be to care for an incapacitated loved one and his or her estate. Attorney Goff assists families in the Orlando area throughout the entire guardianship process. From establishing a guardian to ensuring that the selected guardian complies with court requirements, he ensures that the guardian is only acting in the best interest of your incapacitated loved one.  

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When Is a Guardian Needed?

Hunter Goff recommends hiring a guardian when it is clear that a loved one is no longer able to make sound decisions regarding his or her health and/or finances alone. Oftentimes the decision to appoint a guardian to care for a family member’s health and estate can engender contention, so it always best to consult other family members before making any decisions. If you feel that your loved one is in need of a guardian, however, but you receive opposition from other family members, there are ways to prove incapacitation.

Guardianship appointment starts with filing a petition with the court. Once a petition is processed, the family member who filed it must provide factual information upon which they base their belief that the referenced individual is incapacitated. The court will then appoint three committee members—two physicians and one other individual with adequate training—to determine whether or not the claim is valid. Their determination is based off of a physical and mental health examination in addition to a functional assessment.

If the person is found to be incapacitated in any respect, a guardian is then appointed to adequately care for that individual’s health and/or estate. If, however, the person is found to be in good physical and mental health, the court will dismiss the petition.

Guardianship of a Minor

Typically, a guardian is appointed to a minor when it is established that said minor is set to receive more than $15,000, usually from a settlement of a claim or as a result of a judgment in favor of the child. An examining committee is not necessary in the establishment of a minor’s guardian, as the very fact that he or she is a child is reason enough for guardianship.

Who Can Serve As a Guardian in Florida?

While a guardian may be a loved one of the incapacitated individual, the courts also have the ability to appoint a professional or public guardian. This appointment takes place only when no family member takes the responsibility upon him or herself or if the courts feel that no family member is fit to fulfill the duties of a guardian. Furthermore, a bank trust department or nonprofit corporation may also be appointed as guardian, but they may only act as guardian of the individual’s property.

An individual may not serve as guardian if they have any previous criminal record or if they demonstrate any inability to care for the loved one and his or her estate. If the courts feel that there is a conflict of interest between an individual and the responsibilities of possible guardianship, the courts may deny guardianship privilege to that person.


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A Guardian’s Accountability

All guardians in Florida must be represented by a Florida guardianship attorney and are supervised by the court. This is to ensure that each guardian complies with court requirements and does not overstep their boundaries or responsibilities as a guardian. Furthermore, both professional and family guardians are required to produce bonds to cover the ward’s assets, as well as complete court-approved guardianship training. They are also required to undergo routine credit and background checks. At the end of each year, the guardian is required to submit a report detailing the year’s responsibilities as a guardian of the incapacitated person and/or of his or her property.

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Why Choose Us?

Hire an Experienced Florida Guardianship Attorney

Hunter Goff, P.A. has extensive experience in dealing with guardianship in Florida at all stages. He oversees the entire process from guardian-appointment to performance assessment to ensure your loved one and his or her property is adequately cared for. If you are interested in hiring a guardian for your incapacitated loved one, or if you need a guardianship attorney to oversee your loved one’s guardian, contact The Law Office of K. Hunter Goff, P.A. at (407) 898-8225 today.

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