The guardianship lawyers at Dine Elder Law are available to assist you and your family in all aspects of guardianship proceedings in all of Manatee and Sarasota Counties, including Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch & Sarasota.

Adult Guardianship

A guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court to legally act on behalf of a ward by making decisions that are in the ward’s best interests, such as health care and living arrangements, management of finances, bills and expenses and any needed management or sale of assets. If you have a relative or family member who is incapacitated, they may need someone they can trust to make decisions and take actions for them if advance directives such as a Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate are not in place.

Establishing a guardianship is a two-step process. First, the court must determine whether the individual lacks capacity, and if so, in what areas.  The process for determining whether your family member lacks capacity is set forth in the Florida statutes, with the following process:

  • The individual is examined by a doctor, nurse and social worker that make up an examining committee that is appointed by the court
  • The examining committee issues a written report opining whether the individual lacks capacity
  • If they lack capacity the committee identifies the areas where a guardian is needed (e.g., manage property, make health care decisions, etc.)

If the individual is found by the court to be incapacitated and had some or all of his or her civil rights removed, then a guardianship is established between the guardian and ward, and is overseen by the court.

There are time frames and rules that must be adhered to during the process. For example, while incapacity is being established your family member is provided with a court-appointed attorney, and has the right not to testify and to have the hearing kept private among only those who have an interest in the proceeding.

Guardian Advocate

A guardian advocate is a special guardianship process for disabled children when they reach the age of majority. Up until the time that your child turns 18, as their parent you are the natural guardian and can make decisions for him or her.  But when your disabled child turns 18 and becomes an adult, your rights of a parent as a natural guardian automatically cease to exist.  In order for you to continue making medical, educational, financial, educational and living decisions for your disabled adult child, as their parent you need to become a legal guardian advocate, validated by a Florida court.

Minor Guardianships

Minor guardianships are established when your minor child acquires assets worth more than $15,000, which usually occurs when the child is a recipient of funds from a lawsuit. If you are the child’s legal parents you can be the guardian for this purpose.  If the child has no living parents, a third party may be appointed. The guardian of a minor in this situation is appointed by the court to manage the child’s money in a manner that is in the child’s best interests, but there is no need to establish incapacity since the guardianship is based solely on their young age.

Dine Elder Law: Guardianship Lawyers in Manatee & Sarasota Counties

At Dine Elder Law we represent family members, persons alleged to be incapacitated, prospective guardians, family member and professional guardians, and anyone who may have an interest in a guardianship proceeding. We will help you assess the legal situation, and provide advice and guidance that is tailored to your specific needs.