What Is Voluntary Guardianship in Florida?What Is Voluntary Guardianship in Florida?
December 28, 2017 • Uncategorized
A proper estate plan is comprehensive and prepares for every possible contingency. Even though we might not like to think about it, there is a possibility that someday you may not be able to manage your own financial affairs. In the event that you become unable to manage your finances, Florida law allows for voluntary guardianship over your property and assets.
A voluntary guardianship begins when a person who is seeking help files a petition with the court (and is called the petitioner). Once the courts approve the petition, they appoint the voluntary guardian and that person has legal authority to make decisions regarding the financial aspects of a petitioner’s estate. These voluntary guardianships remain in effect until the petitioner revokes guardianship, becomes incapacitated, or dies.
Elements of a Voluntary Guardianship Petition
A person seeking voluntary guardianship must do several things, including:
- State their mental competency, but inability to manage their financial affairs
- Establish venue
- Give information regarding physical and post office address
- State their intent to have the courts appoint a guardian over their property
- State the breadth of the petition, whether for specific assets or the entirety of an estate
- Provide information about the name, address, and residence of the person the petitioner wishes to be guardian
- Assert that the proposed guardian is both willing and qualified to serve
- Have a letter signed by a physician stating that he or she performed an examination on the petitioner and found the individual competent to understand the nature of the arrangement and the consequences of delegating authority.
Florida Law and Voluntary Guardianship
It’s important to note that the state of Florida only recognizes voluntary guardianship with regard to property. In other words, appointed guardians are not authorized to make residential or medical decisions for the petitioner. If you wish to grant your voluntary guardian the authority to make medical decisions, in light of your incapacity, consider executing a durable power of attorney.
Why Choose a Voluntary Guardianship of Property?
There are a couple of distinct advantages to choosing a voluntary guardianship of property. First, it helps protect your assets in the event you cannot control them yourself, whether through illness or any other condition that does not affect your mental state. Secondly, voluntary guardianship is supervised by the courts, so your appointed guardian will manage your financial affairs in a manner that benefits you and your estate (or at least acts in your best interest). This is safer than simply delegating your financial affairs to a loved one, as they may use the assets for their own interests.
The processes governing voluntary guardianship in Florida are subject to the Florida Probate Code. As such, they can be complex and require the assistance of an attorney. For more information on the voluntary guardianship process or to determine if this arrangement is right for you, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We’re committed to helping you protect your assets and distribute your property in the way that you see fit.