How to Get Guardianship in Florida

By Man Yan

Florida law allows the appointment of a guardian to a minor who lost his parents or to an adult with physical or mental disability. “Ward” is the term used to describe a person who has a guardian. The guardian by law is to protect and exercise the legal rights of the ward. A guardian can be nonprofessional (family or friend of the ward), professional (not family or friend, is compensated from the assets of the ward) or public (not family or friend, is paid by the State of Florida). Applying for guardianship requires going through a court procedure.

Evaluate whether you qualify for guardianship. To qualify as a guardian in Florida, you must be age 18 or older, physically and mentally capable, and a resident of Florida. If you are not a resident of Florida, you may still qualify if you are a relative of the ward by blood, adoption or law.

Fill in the Appointment of Guardian application form with a black pen. Pay close attention to the details required.

File the Appointment of Guardian application form at the court. Within five days from the date of filing, the court will appoint an examining committee and a lawyer for the proposed ward. The examining committee will investigate and submit findings to the court within 15 days.

Attend the hearing, which will be within 14 days from the time the examining committee submits its report to the court. During the hearing, the court will review the report of the examining committee and will evaluate if the proposed ward requires a guardian.

Secure letters of guardianship. If the court finds that the proposed ward needs a guardian and the petitioner is capable of fulfilling that role, the court will issue letters of guardianship to the petitioner. The letters of guardianship will determine the extent of responsibility of the guardian to the ward.