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Florida Guardianship Changes Signed by Governor

Posted on: July 20th, 2015
Florida guardianship lawEarlier this year, our estate planning attorneys in Miami outlined the potential changes proposed for guardianship in Florida. The bill included provisions for a new agency to monitor and regulate guardian supervision, provided for removal of an automatic suspension of power of attorney when filing petitions for incapacity, added a new more challenging process for declaring incapacitation, and placed a cap on guardianship fees.

On June 2, 2015 Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 5 into law. The bill created two new statutes and amended more than a dozen others. In addition to the modifications noted above, the new laws:
  • Explicitly prohibit fraudulent guardianship, power abuse, and intentional mismanagement and embezzlement by the guardian.
  • Include new requirements for Emergency Temporary Guardians (ETGs). 
  • Set forth conditions for automatic suspension of an incapacitated individual’s powers of attorney. Powers of attorney will not be suspended automatically if the agent is the principal’s child, grandchild, parent, or spouse. Any other individual attempting to remove an agent’s authority must file a verified motion.
  • Now allow for-profit organizations to serve as guardian under certain conditions. Previously, only non-profit organizations were qualified.
  • Recognize the wishes of a ward’s next-of-kin when selecting a guardian.

The changes to Florida guardianship law should prompt discussions at an individual’s next estate plan review. Families caring for someone with special needs or disability should also schedule a review of current documents to ensure all important paperwork reflects the family’s wishes and takes into account the new legislation. Consult with a special needs planning attorney if you need to update documents or have concerns about appointing a guardian.

By Attorney Samantha Reichle
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