In Florida, when an individual turns eighteen (18) years old, they are considered a “competent adult” regardless of their disability. This leaves them vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation on many levels. Many parents mistakenly believe they remain “natural guardians” because their adult-aged child is disabled. THIS IS NOT TRUE!
Guardianship is required when a person is incapacitated or impaired and is established through a legal proceeding in the County where a person resides. Guardianship can be for minors or adults.
Voluntary Guardianships are when a person who is beginning to fail physically or mentally but still has capacity to make decisions feels it is in his/her best interest to have a family member or other third party serve in a court appointed position as guardian to manage the person’s financial decisions.
Involuntary Guardianship occurs (in most instances) where a person is already incapable of making informed decisions for himself or herself. In those cases a relative or other third party believes it is necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the person or his/her property and initiates a proceeding to first have the person adjudicated incapacitated and then have a guardian appointed.
A Guardian-Advocate is a flexible type of guardianship proceeding specifically designed for adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities. It is a streamlined form of guardianship that is much more affordable to obtain; helps protect the rights of the person and their property; and allows for the restoration of a person’s rights should the individual demonstrate appropriate levels of capacity in the future.
If you have guardianship questions, we have an attorney that will answer your questions and explain things in a way that is straight-forward and understandable. Please contact Gerald Hemness (he’s located in Brandon) telephone (813) 661-5297.