25 Years Of Experience In Elder Law, Guardianship And Estates

How do you get guardianship over a loved one in Florida?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Guardianships |

It’s painful to watch your parents and other senior loved ones age – but it can be even worse to watch them lose the capacity to protect themselves from exploitation or abuse. 

Guardianship can give you the power to protect your elderly parent or another loved one, but it comes at a big cost. For guardianship to be granted, the court has to strip the senior of their autonomy and personal freedoms, so this is never done lightly. If you’re considering this option, here are some of the basics you should know:

The process starts with a petition

To obtain guardianship over an adult, you need to file a petition to determine incapacity with their county probate court. Once that is done, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the adult in question and assign a three-person examining committee to evaluate the situation. The examining committee will be composed of medical professionals who will interview your loved one and make a recommendation to the court. 

If the court agrees that your loved one is incapacitated, then they will issue a ruling to that effect – and that is when you can file a petition and ask the court to appoint you as your loved one’s guardian. To be eligible to be someone’s guardian:

  • You must be competent and 18 years of age or older
  • You must be a resident of Florida or related to the ward by birth, adoption or marriage
  • You must generally pass a credit check and a criminal background check

If your petition is successful, you will be required to take an eight-hour training course to make certain that you fully understand your obligations and what reports must be filed. 

Guardianship is not always easy to obtain – and there is no “do-it-yourself” option. Experienced legal guidance can help you assess the situation and determine if this is the best route to take.