Legally entrusting one with another’s decision-making authority is a significant action. Thus, most might assume that not just anyone in Miami can be empowered with such responsibility. However, were one to take a high-level glimpse at Florida’s guardianship requirements, he or she might think them to be extremely lax. Technically, any adult resident of the state (or non-resident that is related to the proposed ward and has not been convicted of a felony) can serve in this role. Yet this does not mean that there are not more requirements placed on potential guardians.
The state recognizes some of the unique challenges that a guardianship can present (whether it be over a minor child or an incapacitated adult). It has therefore placed certain education requirements on those who would be guardians. According to Section 744.3145.2 of the Florida state statutes, these include a minimum of eight hours of study on the following topics:
- Guardian duties and responsibilities
- The rights of wards
- Reporting requirements (including financial accountings and annual guardianship reports)
- Local resources available to help wards
The only proposed guardians that are not required to complete this training are those who are parents named as guardians over property belonging to their own children. In this case, they must complete four hours of training detailing their unique responsibilities, the proper use of the assets they have been entrusted with, and how to formally account for such property.
Professional guardians are another matter altogether. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs states that those seeking such positions must complete a 40-hour education course and then pass a state-administered skills test. They then must also register with the state’s Office of Public & Professional Guardianships.