Guardianship of Property

Florida Guardianship: When does a Minor need a Guardianship of Property?

When does a minor need a Guardianship of Property in Jacksonville, Florida? Under Florida Law, there are two particular types of guardianships for minors. The first, Guardianship of the Person, is a guardianship where someone other than a minor’s natural guardian is given authority to make health care, residence, and school-related decisions for the child. The second, a Guardianship of Property, provides a guardian with control over a minor’s assets such as money or real property.

Let’s take the following as an example:  A minor loses his father at a very young age to cancer. Five years later, the minor loses his mother in a tragic car accident. At the time of the mother’s death, the mother had a life insurance policy of $100,000.00, which names the minor as the beneficiary. The mother also had designated her parents as the guardian of the minor upon her death.  What type of guardianship(s) will the minor’s grandparent’s need to be able to care for their grandson?

Guardianship of the Person: Do the grandparents need a Guardianship of the Person? It is pretty self-explanatory when a minor needs a Guardianship of the Person under Florida Law. A Guardianship of the Person will be required whenever someone, other than the minor’s natural guardian, needs to make healthcare or school-related decisions for a minor. Accordingly, even though the mother designated her parents as the minor’s guardians in case of her death, they will still need to be appointed the minor’s Guardian of the Person.

Guardianship of Property: When does a minor need a Guardianship of Property? It is not as apparent when a Guardianship of Property of a minor is needed in Jacksonville, Florida. When a minor needs a Guardianship of Property entirely depends on the dollar amount in question. Most guardianships of the property are required when a minor inherits money or real estate from a family member.

Florida Statute 744.301(2) explicitly states “[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this chapter, on behalf of any of their minor children, and without appointment, authority, or bond if the amounts received in the aggregate do not exceed $15,000, natural guardians” may settle claims on behalf of their minor child and “collect, receive, manage and dispose of” money received in a settlement, an inheritance, or life insurance proceeds.

In the example above, the grandparents will also need a Guardianship of Property to collect the life insurance proceeds on behalf of their grandson. The insurance proceeds left by his mother are apparently over the $15,000.00 threshold set by Florida Law. The grandparents will also need to be the minor’s guardian of property to receive anything else the minor might inherit from his mother.  A minor will also need a Guardianship of Property when a personal injury or wrongful death action can be filed on their behalf.

When does a minor need a Guardianship of Property in Jacksonville, Florida is not always as cut and dry as the example above may suggest. Additionally, Florida Law requires a guardian to be represented by an attorney. Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today to speak with an attorney who can help you determine if you need a guardianship and, if so, what type of guardianship you may need.

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