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  • Writer's pictureWarnock Law Group

Guardianship: Types of Guardianship and Main Differences

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Full or Plenary Guardianship.

In cases where an individual is deemed unable to care for themselves or their property, the court may declare them totally incapacitated and place them under Full or Plenary Guardianship. This means that a legal guardian has been appointed to make decisions on behalf of the individual. The guardian may have authority over the individual's financial, medical, and personal affairs. When an individual is placed in guardianship, they may lose certain rights such as the right to make decisions regarding their finances, medical care, and living arrangements. The extent of the loss of rights depends on the specific terms of the guardianship order.

Limited Guardianship.

Limited guardianship is a legal arrangement where a court appoints a guardian to make specific decisions for a person who is unable to make those decisions themselves. This can apply to individuals who have disabilities, mental illnesses, or other conditions that make it difficult for them to manage their affairs. To be partially incapacitated means that an individual has the ability to perform some, but not all, tasks or activities. When a person is placed under limited guardianship, they retain all of their rights that are not specifically removed by the court order.

Emergency Temporary Guardianship.

Emergency temporary guardianship can be granted in situations where an individual is incapacitated or unable to care for themselves due to a sudden illness, accident, or injury. It can also be granted in cases of abuse or neglect, when immediate action is necessary to protect the individual. Other instances may include situations where a minor child is left without a guardian or when a person with a disability needs immediate assistance. Ultimately, emergency temporary guardianship is granted when there is a need to act quickly to ensure the safety and well-being of the individual in question.

Guardian Advocate for Individuals Who Have a Developmental Disability (Florida Statute §393.12).

Guardianship under a Guardian Advocate is a legal arrangement where a person with a developmental disability has a Guardian Advocate appointed to help them make decisions in areas such as health care, education, and financial matters. This type of guardianship is designed to promote the person's independence and self-determination to the greatest extent possible while still providing necessary support and protection. A person is considered to have a developmental disability if they have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, or Prader-Willi syndrome.

Preneed Guardian.

An adult with capacity can choose a person to act as their Guardian in case they become incapacitated in the future. This choice is typically made through a legal document called a Preneed Guardian, which document is then filed with the court. If that individual is found to be incapacitated at a later date in time, the court should appoint the person named in the Preneed Guardian as long as they qualify to act.

Guardian of a Minor child's person and/or property.

A guardian of a minor child's property becomes necessary usually when a minor child has inherited more than $15,000 and someone has to be appointed to manage and protect the assets and finances of a child who is not yet of legal age to do so themselves. This can include managing real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other property on behalf of the child. The responsibilities and duties of a guardian of a minor child's property may vary depending on the specific circumstances and the laws of the jurisdiction in which they are appointed. A guardian of the person of a minor child may also become necessary in the event one or more biological parent is unable (usually due to unexpected death) to care for the child.


Selecting a person to serve as a Guardian involves a legal process, and it may be best to consult with an attorney or a legal aid organization for guidance. The process typically involves filing a petition with the court and attending a hearing. The court will consider factors such as the person's ability to care for themselves and make decisions, as well as the proposed Guardian's qualifications and ability to fulfill the role.

For further help with guardianship contact us at:

6843 Porto Fino Cir,

Fort Myers, FL 33912, USA

(239) 437-1197

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