A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit court in which a guardian exercises the legal rights of an incapacitated person, minor, voluntary wards, or developmentally disabled individuals. Guardians make decisions and take actions regarding the well being of the ward.

Guardianships may be established for various reasons:

  • Someone is declared incompetent or incapacitated
  • A minor who has inherited money or real property
  • A minor who is the recipient of a court settlement over $15,000
  • A minor who is living with someone other than a parent who will need to make decisions about schooling and health care

At the time of appointment, the court will determine the guardian's powers to be limited or plenary to exercise some or all rights of the minor or incapacitated person.

Every guardian should become familiar with the powers and duties of a guardian reflected in Florida Statutes 744.361. A specific function of the guardian is to file initial and annual reports as outlined in Florida Statutes 744.362 and 744.367.