Guardianship, (Conservatorship), is a legal relationship created by the Court empowering an individual (Guardian) to make financial and/or personal decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person (Ward). Depending upon the extent of the incapacity (determined by the Court), a guardian may have limited or all- encompassing (Plenary) rights on behalf of the Ward.

Guardianship laws, rules and regulations can be complex. The Florida Rules of Probate and Guardianship dictate the legal procedures to be followed in the various court proceedings relating to such guardianship matters.

The process is initiated by an interested party, through an attorney. A petition for the appointment of guardianship outlining the need for the appointment is filed in the appropriate circuit court. A statement of financial resources and a report from a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist describing the person's level of impairment, ability to appear at the hearing, and need for protection is also filed. The court then conducts a hearing and determines whether a guardianship is appropriate, and if so, whether a guardian with limited or plenary powers is in the best interests of the ward.

A guardian will have an on-going legal relationship with the ward to become familiar with the ward's personal and/or financial needs. Throughout the entire life of the guardianship, a close working relationship between the guardian and the attorney must be established as there are mandatory reporting requirements to the court on an on-going basis.

For information concerning Guardianships for Minors, the aged or infirm, or Guardian Advocates for the developmentally disabled, kindly contact Mr. Silver directly.