Florida is well-known for a variety of reasons: world-class theme parks and breathtaking golf courses around Orlando, relaxing cruises and amazing rocket launches from space coast and Port Canaveral and much more. One of the most significant characteristics of Florida is its large population of elderly individuals. Thousands of hard-working Americans move to Florida's retirement communities to enjoy the wonderful weather and lifestyles afforded by our state's many retirement communities. Unfortunately, this retirement lifestyle cannot last, and as these retirees age, they often require assistance living day-to-day.
In order to ensure that these aging individuals can enjoy full lives for as long as possible, the state outlines specific regulations for guardianship, a legal classification by which the courts assign a person to protect the interests of an individual who cannot manage his or her own affairs. This individual is called a ward. In order to be a guardian in Florida, an individual must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the state of Florida. Non-residents may also be designated guardians if they are:
- Directly related to the ward
- Legally related to the ward by an adoptive process
- Free of any felony convictions
If you wish to become the guardian of a ward of the state of Florida, you will need to file three documents. After filing, the courts will appoint a committee to oversee the ward and evaluate his or her condition. If the committee determines that a guardian is necessary, the guardian will be required to undergo an education course, background check and file proof of completion.
Families who believe that their loved one needs or will soon need a guardian are encouraged to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Adequate preparation can be the difference between ensuring that your loved one is well cared for and being unable to provide your loved one with the care that he or she so desperately needs.