What is a guardian advocate in Florida?
The appointment of a guardian advocate is a less intrusive alternative to a full guardianship. As defined by the Florida Statutes, a guardian advocate may be appointed “…for a person with developmental disabilities, if the person lacks the decision-making ability to do some, but not all, of the decision-making tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property or if the person has voluntarily petitioned for the appointment of a guardian advocate.” A guardian advocate may also be appointed for mental health patients who are incompetent to consent to treatment.
What makes a guardian advocacy distinct from a guardianship is that, whereas a guardian may be assigned to any incapacitated individual, there are specific eligibility requirements that a ward must meet for the court to appoint a guardian advocate. In addition, the appointment of a guardian advocate does not require an examining committee’s finding of incapacity. The duties and responsibilities of the guardian advocate are the same as those of a guardian – however, a guardian advocate may not be required to file an annual accounting on behalf of the ward, if the court determines that the ward’s only income is Social Security benefits.
The attorneys at Bach, Jacobs & Byrne, P.A. are highly-skilled and experienced guardianship and elder law attorneys. If you or a loved one is seeking a guardian advocacy, please call us at (941) 906-1231 to set up a consultation.