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What responsibilities does a guardian of an adult have?

In Florida, the court may appoint a guardian for an adult who has a mental disability or becomes incapacitated due to age-related dementia, a head injury or a number of other possible causes. If you become the guardian of a disabled or incapacitated adult, your responsibilities may be different from what you might expect. 

According to FindLaw, your role as a guardian is not necessarily to provide care for your ward’s daily needs, although it may be possible for you to take on a caretaking role in addition to that of a guardian. Essentially, your function is to manage your wards affairs in matters that he or she is unable to handle alone. These may include the following: 

  • Decisions regarding medical care
  • Decisions regarding finances
  • Assurance of maintenance and availability of the ward’s care

Additionally, one of your most important responsibilities as a guardian involves being accountable to the court by providing regular updates. 

However, it is neither desirable nor expected for you to micromanage every aspect of your ward’s life. Rather, you should view your role as facilitating self-reliance and independence for your ward to the extent possible. In the interest in allowing your ward reasonable control over his or her own life, your responsibilities as a guardian are more limited than they might be if you were the guardian of a minor child. 

When possible, a ward has a say in whom the court chooses as his or her guardian. A power of attorney may indicate the ward’s preference if created prior to the incapacitation or disability. Otherwise, courts usually favor spouses or close family members as potential guardians. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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