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Florida guardianship: What freedoms does a ward keep?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Guardianship |

No child wants to witness their elderly loved one struggle. When making decisions for themselves becomes a challenge, establishing guardianship becomes a consideration. Under this arrangement, an incapacitated person takes on the role of a ward, for whom the court will appoint a legal guardian.

Guardians have the authority and responsibility of overseeing the ward’s assets, medical care and other personal affairs. However, not everyone may be willing or qualified to serve as a guardian. In that case, the court may appoint a public guardian.

As guardianship can deprive the ward of certain rights, preserving the safety and dignity of the ward may require an understanding of the freedoms they retain.

Freedoms wards are entitled to

Guardianship may take away certain rights, such as the ability to vote, marry, travel, work or hold a driver’s license. Nevertheless, a ward still retains many important liberties. A few are:

  • To receive humane treatment and protection from abuse or neglect
  • To have their preferred place or standard of living honored
  • To know how the guardian is managing their property
  • To have legal counsel
  • To receive and communicate with friends, family or others
  • To be restored to capacity
  • To review the need for restriction of their rights

While guardianship offers benefits to the ward and their loved ones, this legal arrangement can also place them in a vulnerable position. While guardians have great authority over many aspects of the ward’s life, they must always act in the ward’s best interests.

Mishandling of assets, the ward’s poor health, notices of overdue bills and unexpected changes to financial documents are possible indicators of guardian incompetence. A guardian who breaches their fiduciary duty may be subject to removal.

If there is any suspicion that a guardian is no longer acting in the ward’s best interests, it is crucial to take immediate action.

Securing adult guardianship for elderly loved ones is a tough decision. It can provide peace of mind, but it may also strip away certain liberties from the ward, giving way for abuse to happen. An attorney can provide legal guidance on whether this arrangement is the best choice.