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At TEPS LAW, LLC, we take pride in our ability to provide sound advice and skilled representation to individuals seeking guardianships and conservatorships throughout the state of Florida. Although it is not uncommon to hear the terms guardianship and conservatorship used interchangeably, they refer to two entirely different legal processes. Both processes are complex and require the practiced guidance of an experienced legal professional.

Guardianship

When an individual becomes incapacitated and is unable to care for themselves or their property, an appropriate party may file for guardianship over them. If they are successful in their petition, and the court appoints them as a guardian, they are then able to make important decisions concerning the ward’s (legal term for someone for whom a guardian has been appointed) person and property. The legal process for application of guardianship is governed by Chapter 744, Florida Statutes.

An appropriate party to apply for guardianship can be a person or an institution. A person applying for guardianship must be a minimum of 18 years of age and a resident of Florida. Exceptions may be made to the residency requirement for certain relatives.

Situations Where a Guardianship Is Appropriate

  • An older adult that suffers from dementia or another incapacity
  • A child who is orphaned
  • A disabled child becoming an adult

Types of Guardianship

  • Plenary Guardianship: When the court appoints a guardian over an adult ward due to incapacity
  • Pre-Need Guardianship: When an individual designates who their guardian will be should they ever become incapacitated
  • Limited Guardianship: When a ward is able to take care of some, but not all, of their own personal needs and property a guardian can be appointed to handle the issues that are beyond the scope of the ward’s abilities
  • Standby Guardian: When an individual desires to transfer decision-making power over their child to a certain person for specific situations

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is appropriate in cases where an individual has gone missing. This enables the family of the missing person to handle their legal and financial affairs in their absence. In order for the court to grant the conservatorship, the missing person must be determined to be “absentee.” Absentee can refer to either:

  • a member of the armed forces that disappear under certain circumstances such as in a war zone.
  • an individual that disappears under circumstances which indicate they died or suffered from mental incapacity

The process for conservatorship is governed by Chapter 747, Florida Statutes. To apply for conservatorship over a missing individual, the person filing the petition must show the court that they would have an interest in the estate or property of the absentee if the absentee were deceased. Also able to apply for conservatorship is any person that can prove they are dependent upon the absentee for their support and maintenance.

Contact An Experienced Guardianship & Conservatorship Attorney Today

Contact TEPS LAW, LLC today to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Florida guardianship and conservatorship lawyer. You can contact us online or by calling 954-710-9400 to schedule a consultation. We now offer appointments for virtual and telephonic consultations for your convenience.

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