Guardianship in Pinellas County is a multi-step process. First, an adult whom is qualified under the laws of the State of Florida to act as a guardian files a petition in the court to have the individual determined to be incapacitated and a guardian appointed.
The court then appoints a panel of professionals to examine the individual and advise the court of their findings. If it is determined that the individual is incapacitated, the court will usually then name a guardian over that individual.
The guardian may only exercise those rights that have been removed from the incapacitated individual by the court.
Once the guardianship is established, the guardian has the responsibilities of filing documents with the court on an annual basis. As such, a guardian must be represented by an attorney to ensure that the guardian is properly carrying out the duties of the guardianship. If a guardian does not adequately represent the ward or file the necessary documents, they may be removed as the guardian.
There are situations in which it is necessary to appoint a guardian over a minor. If the parents of the minor pass away, a guardianship may be required. In addition, if a child is inheriting funds, or receiving proceeds from an insurance policy or lawsuit, and the funds exceed the statutory amount, a guardian must be appointed.
Guardianship over a minor is similar to the process listed above, except that the child is already considered to lack capacity based on the fact that they are a minor. As such, a guardian must only petition to court to have a guardian appointed. However, the guardian is still responsible for filing documents with the court on an annual basis and must be represented by an attorney.
Establishing a guardianship and acting as a guardian can be a very emotional and confusing time. As such, it is very important to hire a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney to help you through it. To determine whether you need to hire a guardianship attorney, please contact our office for a free consultation.