How elder guardianships are established

If you have an elderly relative in Florida that you provide care for, you may face many decisions and situations over time regarding how best to do that. At some point, based upon the health and mental ability of your loved one, you may need to consider setting up a conservatorship or guardianship. This can be a valuable way of protecting an elder and his or her assets.

The process of obtaining a guardianship in Florida involves several steps, starting with the filing of a petition. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs indicates that once this has been done, the court has five days in which to name an attorney to the case. A special panel that is tasked with investigating the case will also be identified. At least one member of the panel must be a currently licensed psychiatrist or physician.

A report from the panel, given to the court no more than 15 days later, will include any official diagnosis, future prognosis and recommendations. Two weeks after the report is presented, a hearing will be held to approve or deny the request to appoint a guardian. Relatives can be named as guardians but there can also be a court-appointed guardian as well.

A guardian can have control over a person, property or both. Even with power over property, any sale, transfer, mortgage or other change must be approved by the court. You can learn more about guardianships and conservatorships of elderly persons in Florida by visiting our website page on powers of attorney.


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