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Restoring a ward's rights through a suggestion of capacity

For residents of Miami, the thought of having their decision-making privileges taken from them may seem completely foreign. While few people may believe a legal guardianship will ever be a part of their futures, statistics seem to suggest that such cases are more common than many may believe. According to the Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator, 6,381 guardianship cases where filed in the state in the 2012-2013 fiscal year alone.

Those placed under guardianship may make having their personal authority reinstated their top priority. The steps for taking such action are outlined in the Florida State Statutes. When one believes that he or she is ready to have his or her guardianship removed, he or she must file a suggestion of capacity with the court. A notice of this filing will then be sent to the appointed guardian as well as any other interested parties in the case. Any of those parties then have 20 days to file an objection to the petition.

After having received a suggestion of capacity, the court will then appoint a physician to examine the ward to determine his or her capability of reassuming his or her decision-making rights. The court will then review the physician's findings and make its decision. If it finds that the preponderance of evidence supports the ward's suggestion of capacity, the court may choose to restore all or some of his or her rights. If only some are reinstated, the court will record in writing what rights the guardian retains.

If objections are made to the ward's suggestion of capacity, or his or her evaluation questions his or readiness to reassume his or her rights, a hearing will then be held for him or her to present his or her case. 

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