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GUARDIANSHIP

Guardianship is a legal tool that should be used only as a last resort. 

A guardian, by definition, is a person who has been appointed by the court to act on behalf of a ward’s person, property, or both.  The guardian is empowered by the court to take control of those rights delegated by the court that affect the ward’s person, property, or both. Some form of guardianship legislation exists in every state in America. 

It is important to understand that guardianship is the choice of last resort.  It is a process that must be used sparingly and only in cases where less restrictive means of intervention are not possible.  Guardianship, in its purest form, is an extremely productive device to protect those most vulnerable in our society, but in its worst form can become a tool to abuse, neglect or exploit those the individuals for whom the law is designed to protect.  Care management may be an alternative to guardianship. If we can help you with care management or companion services, please just give us a call at 407-331-9010


There are many types of guardianships such as Standby Guardianship, Foreign Guardianship, Pre-Need Guardianship, Veteran Guardianship but the most common guardianships are the ones listed below:

Emergency Guardianship:  The court must specifically find that unless immediate action is taken, the ward is in imminent danger of being physically or mentally harmed, or the ward’s property is in danger of being wasted, misappropriated, or lost.  The authority of a guardian under this designation is in duration for 90 days or until a permanent guardian is appointed.

Plenary Guardianship of Person and Property:  This type of guardianship is the most restrictive form of guardianship.  A plenary guardian is one, who after a court has declared an individual incapacitated and finds that he or she lacks the ability to perform the tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property, is appointed to excercise ALL the rights of and powers of the ward.

Limited Guardianship:   This type of guardianship is utilized when the court finds that a person lacks capacity to do some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property. 

Voluntary Guardianship:  This type of guardianship, in my opinion, is under utilized.  A voluntary guardianship is for an individual who IS COMPETENT but for reasons of age or physical infirmity is incapable or wants another person to handle the care, custody and managment of his or her estate.  This is a very good tool to use instead of a power of attorney because a voluntary guardian is required to be bonded and must provide the court with an inventory of the assets being managed and provide a yearly report.  In order to enter into this type of a guardianship, the primary care physician must put in writing that the person is competent and understands that authority will be delegated to a guardian. 


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