Senior Resources

What is a Guardian?

A legal guardian for seniors is a court-appointed person who makes decisions on behalf of an elderly individual who is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. This could be due to reasons such as mental incapacity or physical limitations. The legal guardian is responsible for deciding on the senior’s healthcare, finances, living arrangements, […]
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A legal guardian for seniors is a court-appointed person who makes decisions on behalf of an elderly individual who is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. This could be due to reasons such as mental incapacity or physical limitations. The legal guardian is responsible for deciding on the senior’s healthcare, finances, living arrangements, and overall well-being. It is a role that requires a great deal of responsibility and should always be carried out with the best interests of the senior in mind.

Why Older Adults Might Require a Guardian 

At times, elderly individuals may reach a point where they are unable to care for themselves or make crucial decisions due to illness, injury, or aging, impacting their decision-making abilities. This could present difficulty in remembering to take medications, maintain hygiene, manage finances adequately, or make essential medical choices. In such situations, it may be in the older adult’s best interest for a guardian or conservator to be appointed by the court. 

What’s the Difference Between a Guardian and a  Conservator

 Different states may use the terms guardian and conservator interchangeably, while others assign specific duties to each role. In certain states, a guardian oversees personal affairs and daily care, while a conservator manages the financial matters of the incapacitated individual. In some states, an older adult may have both a conservator and a guardian. 

In Florida, a guardian is a person the court appoints to act on someone else’s behalf regarding their person, property, or both. The individual of concern is called a ward and may be a senior, adult, or child. This is where Florida can differ from other states. For example, in California, a guardian is the term used if the ward is a child, and a conservator is used when the ward is an adult.

Additionally, Florida Statutes require guardians to submit reports to the court to ensure they act according to the law. These reports help the court supervise the ward’s affairs and monitor the guardian’s actions.

The Guardianship Process 

Each state has its unique guardianship process and prerequisites. Typically, the following individuals or entities can petition a court to appoint a guardian:

  • The elderly person
  • The spouse or domestic partner of the elderly individual
  • A relative or adult child of the older adult
  • A friend of the elderly person
  • A state or local government agency

The guardianship process is intricate and lengthy, as it entails the potential loss of certain rights by the older adult.

A guardian is entrusted with caring for the older or vulnerable adult and must act in their best interests. This entails various responsibilities, such as deciding on long-term care facilities, addressing personal needs, managing finances, coordinating medical care, organizing social activities, and ensuring the overall well-being of the older adult.

Who may not serve as a guardian?

Florida Statutes prohibit the appointment of anyone as a guardian if they have been convicted of a felony, judicially determined to have committed abuse, abandonment, or neglect against a child, or have been found guilty, regardless of adjudication, in certain other offenses. In addition, a person who may be unable to perform his or her duties due to illness or incapacity may not be appointed.

Would you like more information?

We are here to help! If you’d like the name of a local guardian, please email us at info@sunwaysseniorliving.com.

Sources:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm



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