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Guardianship Administration in Florida

In Florida, once a Guardian is appointed, they have a duty to administer the guardianship. A Guardian may be appointed for a ward’s person, property, or plenary (both). The guardian is a fiduciary and may exercise only those rights that have been removed from the ward and delegated to the guardian. While not meant to be exhaustive, below is a summary the responsibilities to the court that a guardian must undertake in that role.

Once letters of guardianship are entered, an initial report of the guardian is required to be filed pursuant to F.S. 744.362. This plan shall include the following:

  • The provision of medical, mental, or personal care services for the welfare of the ward;
  • The provision of social and personal services for the welfare of the ward;
  • The place and kind of residential setting best suited for the needs of the ward;
  • The application of health and accident insurance and any other private or governmental benefits to which the ward may be entitled to meet any part of the costs of medical, mental health, or related services provided to the ward;
  • and any physical and mental examinations necessary to determine the ward’s medical and mental health treatment needs.

F.S. 744.363(1)(a)-(e).

The guardian of a person must file an annual plan within ninety (90) days after the last day of the anniversary month the letters of guardianship were signed under F.S. § 744.367(1). The guardian of the property must include an annual accounting. F.S. § 744.367(3). Failure to timely file the annual guardianship plan can result in sanctions being imposed ranging from contempt to removal of the guardian. F.S. § 744.367(5).

A plenary guardian must file a supplemental report if they discover any property of the ward that was not previously known or reported. . F.S. § 744.384. Guardians of the property also must file a report upon their removal or resignation, or if the guardianship is terminated. The guardianship may terminate because a ward is restored to capacity, by order of the court, or because of the ward’s death.

Under Florida Law, a Guardian is similar to a trustee of a trust or the personal representative of an estate. They must account to the court for the assets of the ward, as well as to creditors or other interested person who make a request in writing. Additionally, the court may order production of records for inspection. An interesting issue which arises in guardianships is who exactly is an interested person entitled to see and receive reports of the guardianship. While interested persons are defined by F.S. 731.201(23), for the purposes of guardianship proceedings there are no strict guidelines. If you believe you are an interested person in a guardianship and are not being furnished report of the guardian, consider seeking experienced guardianship counsel to appear on your behalf. Guardianship can be a complicated field in Florida probate law.

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