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Appointing a guardian: What you should know

There may come a time when you need to appoint a guardian in your will. Perhaps you're getting older and want to make sure an adult child with a disability is taken care of if you pass away. Maybe you have a degenerative disease and know that your children may need to have someone else appointed to take care of them.

In your estate plan, you can appoint a guardian to take care of your loved ones if you pass away. If those individuals are not yet adults or cannot make decisions for themselves, then it's important that a guardian is there to make decisions for them.

In Florida, there are specific guardianship procedures in place to legally appoint a guardian to take care of a ward.

What qualifies a person to become a guardian?

A person can be qualified to become a guardian if they are at least 18 and are a Florida resident. Non-residents can become guardians if they are directly related to the ward or if they are the adoptive parent of the ward. Spouses of a qualified party may also qualify to take the role of a guardian. The state does require that the person seeking guardianship has never been convicted of a felony. If family members are not happy with a particular guardian's appointment, they can appeal that decision.

What do you have to do if you want to establish a guardian?

You will need a few documents. First, you need the Petition to Determine Incapacity for any adult child who would need a guardian. This petition proves that the individual does need a guardian to support them.

What do guardians have to do to be appointed?

Although you choose a guardian and include them in your will or estate plan, the court will still have some requirements prior to assigning them that role. They will need to attend an eight-hour course for guardians, submit to credit and criminal background checks, and potentially pay yearly fees to stay in that role.

It's a good idea to talk to your attorney specifically about appointing a guardian and what you can do to make the process as easy as possible for the guardian you'd like to have appointed for your children. Laws are always changing, so it's wise to consider speaking about guardianship regularly to make sure that you will always have the right plans in place for your kids.

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Palm Springs, FL 33461

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