In Florida, a voluntary guardianship over a person’s property is available for a competent person who is unable to manage his or her own financial affairs. To begin the process, the person seeking a voluntary guardianship files a petition with the court and is referred to as the petitioner. Once the petition is granted and a voluntary guardian is appointed by the court, the voluntary guardian has the authority to control and manage the financial affairs of the petitioner. A voluntary guardianship remains in effect until the petitioner’s death, incapacity or revocation of guardianship.
The petition filed with the court seeking a voluntary guardianship must:
- Establish venue;
- State the address of the petitioner as well as their post office address;
- State that petitioner is mentally competent, but unable to manage their own financial affairs;
- State that petitioner is petitioning the court voluntarily to have a guardian appointed over their property;
- State whether the guardianship is to be over all of their property or over specific property;
- State the name, residence and post office address of the person the petitioner wishes to be appointed their guardian;
- State that the proposed guardian is qualified to serve or that a willing and qualified guardian is yet to be found;
- State the names of those petitioner wishes to receive notices of hearing and any petition for authority to act to be served upon and their post office addresses.
- Be accompanied by a certificate from a licensed physician stating that he or she examined the petitioner and that petitioner is competent enough to understand the nature of the voluntary guardianship and the delegation of authority.
It is important to note that Florida only recognizes Voluntary Guardianship of the Property. Thus, a voluntary guardianship does not allow the appointed guardian to make medical or residential decisions for the petitioner. It is a good idea for the petitioner to also execute a Durable Power of Attorney for medical purposes in order to make sure all of their needs can be met.
The one main benefit of a voluntary guardianship over a Durable Power of Attorney is the court’s ongoing supervision of the guardian’s management of the financial affairs. This supervision is not available when a Durable Power of Attorney is used. The court’s supervision helps to ensure the guardian only manages the financial affairs in such a way that benefits and is in the best interest of the petitioner.
For more information on obtaining a voluntary guardianship in Florida, review Florida Statute 733.341 and Florida Probate Code Rule 5.552. The attorneys at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC can also help you determine whether a voluntary guardianship is right for you or your loved one. Contact us today at (904) 685-1200.