Exploring a guardianship is especially important if you have loved ones who may not be able to care for themselves. In Florida, there are several groups of people whose needs and interests may need to be protected. Those include the following:
- Minor children
- People with special needs
- The incapacitated
Florida law allows for types of guardianship, including natural, foreign and pre-need guardians. Any adult resident of the state can serve in this capacity for a loved one, and in some instances, even people living out of state who are close relatives can be a guardian. There are also people who are deemed professional or public guardians, who may be appointed to care for the person in question.
Florida is one of just a few states that does not allow anyone convicted of a felony to become a guardian. Some people choose to have a bank trust department appointed as a guardian, but as The Florida Bar points out, the institution would only have legal responsibility over property.
When it comes to minors, parents are natural guardians of their own children. However, their ability to exercise legal rights over their children ends when the child turns 18. Therefore, especially when it comes to minors with special needs, it is important for parents to file a petition to extend their rights as a guardian past the child's 18th birthday.
A Florida judge must appoint a guardian, which is a process that can take about a month to finalize. However, the state does allow for a temporary emergency guardian to be appointed, which only takes about three to five days.
While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.