If you have a family member or friend you believe can no longer care for their own health and/or finances due to an incapacity AND there is not a Power of Attorney or other similar document already in place, it may be time to look into guardianship. A guardian will be able to make the healthcare and financial decisions they are unable to make. Once deemed to be incapacitated, a person becomes known as a ward.
Once you make the determination that a guardianship is needed, you need to decide who will serve as the guardian. Who can serve as a guardian over an incompetent person is defined in Florida’s statutes. Specially, Florida Statue 744.309 lays out the following requirements:
If you are a resident of the state of Florida, you must be:
- 18 years of age or older.
If you are not a resident of the state of Florida, you must be:
- A lineal relative of the Ward;
- Related to the Ward through adoption;
- Be the Ward’ spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew; or
- Be the spouse of a person who is qualified to serve as a guardian of the Ward.
However, even if you meet one of these requirements, you may still not be able to serve as the guardian of the Ward if one of the following applies to you:
- You have been convicted of a felony;
- If an incapacity or illness prevents you from being able to perform the duties of a guardian; or
- A court has found that you have committed, abuse, abandonment, or neglect against a minor.
The following can also serve as a guardian:
- A trust company, state bank or savings association, or national bank or federal savings and loan association;
- A nonprofit corporate guardian;
- A health care provider; OR
- A For-profit corporate guardian.
If you are close to someone who you believe can no longer handle their own health care or financial decisions, it might be time to consult an attorney about guardianship. In Florida, you must be represented by an attorney in order to become someone’s guardian. Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today to speak with a Jacksonville Guardianship attorney for more information.