What is a Professional Guardian?

Sun, Jul 13, 2014


Some rights reserved by srqpixOur practice does a lot of guardianship work. Guardianship is the legal process of appointing another person to manage the affairs, medical decisions, and property of a minor or an incapacitated adult. This process involves the filing of a court petition and requires court oversight, monitoring, and the appointment of either a knowledgeable person or a professional.

Florida has a program that allows someone to be called a Professional Guardian. According to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, a professional guardian is anyone being paid to be the guardian of more than two wards at the same time. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs has plenty of information about this designation and is a starting point for determining if someone is actually recognized by the state as a professional guardian. It is very important that a potential professional guardian is on this list. It is also a good idea to check back periodically to be sure they are still on the list as the guardianship proceeds.

The University of South Florida has more information about the courses and tests required to become a professional guardian. In addition to initial certification and coursework, there are continuing education requirements, a credit check, a background check, and a required bond.

In addition, the judge will look at the fees the professional guardian proposes prior to their appointment as guardian. This is an important safeguard to be sure the fees are not outrageous.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs offers this handbook of guardianship basics for those considering becoming a guardian, professional or not.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-202-2222  to learn more and to ask about our free consultations that are available for certain types of cases.

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