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Restoring capacity to a ward in Florida

Guardianship can be a complicated matter in Florida, and requires very specific attention to detail when discontinuing a guardianship to avoid great legal problems. There are many reasons that a guardian may want to relinquish his or her duties. One such reason is when a ward has regained his or her capacity and no longer needs to be held in guardianship. Florida does provide for this possibility, but is must be pursued properly.

In order to restore legal capacity to a ward, the guardian must take several steps. The first is to file a "suggestion of capacity" with the court, a document that states the ward is now capable of exercising rights which have been priorly removed from him or her. A court will then appoint a physician to test the claim that the ward has regained capacity. Once the physician has completed the appraisal of the wards capacity, the court will determine whether or not to honor the request. It may also grant a partial restoration of rights instead of a full restoration. In the event that only some and not all of the ward's rights are restored, then the guardian will need to prepare and file a revised guardianship plan that accounts for the new freedoms and responsibilities.

If the courts restore full capacity to the ward, the before the guardian relinquishes his or her duties, some finishing steps must be followed. These include filing any remaining legal and guardian fee petitions, a final summary of the ward's financial affairs, and the distribution of the funds and property held in guardianship. Also, all guardians are required to maintain relevant records for at least three years following such a discharge.

If you are considering discharging your guardianship for any reason, it is wise to consider the guidance of an experienced attorney. With proper guidance, you can navigate this tricky area and ensure that both you and your ward are protected throughout the process.

Source: Findlaw, "Termination of Florida Guardianships," accessed Dec. 07, 2016

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