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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.

Mental Health

Mental health records are confidential. Acts concerned with mental health include:

Baker Act: A process established by Florida Statutes by which a person whose current mental state poses a danger to that person or to other may be taken to a mental health receiving facility for an involuntary examination.

Marchman Act: A process established by Florida Statutes by which a person may be admitted for an involuntary evaluation to determine if his or judgment is impaired due to substance abuse and he or she has, therefore, lost the power of self-control with respect to substance abuse and poses a danger to himself or herself or to another person.