Chapter 744 within Florida’s statutes gives the circuit courts permission to establish guardianship for incapacitated people, including elderly individuals. Guardianship is a legal proceeding that involves selecting someone who can manage daily activities and personal affairs when you are not able to.

The Florida Bar identifies a guardian as either a person or an institution (e.g. a non-profit organization). A guardian is court appointed to take care of you if you become incapacitated. In other words, a judge must determine that you are not capable of maintaining your health, safety or property on your own. If this is the case, you get classified as a ward whose affairs must be overseen by a guardian.

A guardian can be an adult living in or outside of Florida. However, anyone who has a felony cannot serve in this capacity. Additionally, a guardian may or may not be your relative. In the event that you do not have a relative who can serve in this role, there are professional guardians who get trained to look after your best interest.

Guardians perform a variety of duties on your behalf. One of their primary activities involves overseeing property and making financial decisions. However, certain financial transactions must be court-approved. They also have authority to make decisions related to your personal, medical and mental care services. Additionally, guardians must submit yearly reports to the court detailing the work they perform for the individuals left in their care.

Keep in mind that this is general information used for educational purposes only and is not legal advice.