Your Trusted Legal Resource

Understanding adult guardianship and incapacity

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | Guardianship |

Older adults sometimes develop physical and mental conditions that make it difficult for them to take care of themselves. When a person can no longer handle their own affairs, a guardianship may be the best course of action.

What is a guardianship?

When a person is no longer capable of caring for themselves, another adult may step in to make financial and other life decisions on their behalf. A guardianship can be voluntary or involuntary depending on the circumstances.

Voluntary guardianships

Voluntary guardianships are beneficial to people who have recently been diagnosed with dementia or another medical condition that will get worse over time. While they still have the mental capacity to do so, the person will be allowed to request guardianship, choose the person they want as their guardian, and limit the guardian’s authority, all with the court’s supervision.

Involuntary guardianships

Unlike voluntary guardianships, an involuntary guardianship is requested on behalf of someone who is incapacitated. A plenary guardian will have full control over all of the person’s affairs while a limited guardian will only have control over a select few things.

To file for an involuntary guardianship, you will need to file a petition for incapacity so that a three-person committee of medical professionals and others appointed by the court can evaluate whether the person is incapacitated, as defined by Fla. Stat. Sec. 744.102(12). The committee will consider several factors, including whether the person is able to:

  • Work.
  • Marry.
  • Enter a contract.
  • Vote.
  • Manage property.
  • Drive.
  • Consent to medical treatment.

If the committee determines that the person is incapacitated, the court may declare them incapacitated and appoint a guardian. A Florida attorney specializing in estate planning matters can help you with the guardianship application process to protect yourself or a loved one.