What You Need To Know About Guardianships and Conservatorships in Florida

Over the past few years, the scenario of guardianships and conservatorships have been front line in the media and news. It’s important for the public to understand the differences between the two, and not be misguided by other information. 

Guardianships and Conservatorships in Florida deal with two completely different situations and can not be used interchangeably. 

Guardianship In Florida

Family members or other parties may petition a Florida court for control over an adult that is found to be incapable of managing their financial affairs due to mental illness, incapacitation, or other reasons. The process for taking control of the allegedly incapacitated individual’s finances is referred to as pursuing Guardianship. In other states, such as California, this is called Conservatorship. 

In Florida, a legal guardian is given the right to make decisions on behalf of an individual’s financial and physical well-being. A guardian can do, but is not limited to, performing activities and duties for the individual such as: 

  • Managing assets
  • Preparing tax returns
  • Paying bills
  • Managing healthcare decisions with professionals
  • Managing Social Security benefits 

Conservatorship in Florida

In many states, a conservator is an individual given control over an incapacitated adult’s finances only. The appointed individual does not have to be the same person given guardianship rights. 

However, in Florida, a Conservator is an individual granted the right to manage the affairs of someone considered to be an “absentee.”  This could be someone who has gone missing or is presumed dead. A Court appoints the Conservatorship based on its individual circumstances.

In most other states, a conservator is someone who is granted control only over an incapacitated adult’s financial decisions. This person does not have to be the same person who has been appointed as legal guardian of the incapacitated individual.

 In Florida, however, a Conservator is someone who is appointed by the court to manage the affairs of someone considered to be an “absentee”, whether they have gone missing or have been presumed dead.

Regardless of the situation, seeking appointment of a Guardian or a Conservator is something that is done completely by the court system. It is advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney intimately familiar with these proceedings, as a formal legal process must be followed in either scenario.

If you have questions about guardianships or conservatorships in Florida, attorney Mark F. Moss can help you understand what options you have available. To arrange a confidential consultation over the phone or in person in Jacksonville, please call 904-329-7242 or inquire online today.

If you are in a situation that may require a guardianship or conservatorship in Florida, the offices of Friedman Elder Law & Estate Planning Department can help you with the process. It is completely handled within the Court system, so it is advised that you seek the assistance of our legal team who is familiar with the legal process and proceedings. 

Our Elder Law and Estate Planning team in Broward County and Palm Beach County are here to answer any questions you may have about guardianship and conservatorship in Florida. 

To schedule a consultation, please call 954-866-1055 or contact us through our website here

Broward County, Florida

Palm Beach County, Florida

Miami-Dade County, Florida

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