There are many different reasons why an adult in Florida may require a guardian to help manage his or her affairs. Therefore, it stands to reason that what a ward needs from his or her guardian may vary. If your ward is only slightly incapacitated, it does not necessarily make sense for you to assume complete authority.
The state of Florida understands that one-size-fits-all guardianship may not be appropriate in the presence of varying degrees of incapacitation. Therefore, Florida Courts describe four different types of adult guardianships that apply to different situations.
Involuntary versus voluntary guardianships
Involuntary guardianship occurs when a person is mentally incompetent to make decisions for himself or herself. This requires the court to appoint a guardian over the ward.
Voluntary guardianship is different because it involves a petition from the prospective ward for the court to appoint a guardian to manage his or her estate. This is a unique situation because the petitioner is someone who is mentally competent enough to recognize that he or she is not capable of managing alone.
Plenary versus limited guardianships
A plenary guardianship is appropriate when the ward is totally incapable of caring for himself or herself. The word plenary means complete and full; therefore a plenary guardianship places all delegable legal rights and powers into the guardian's hands.
On the other end of the spectrum is a limited guardianship. This type is appropriate when your ward did not set down written instructions expressing his or her wishes describing what should happen in the event of incapacity, yet the incapacity only prevents him or her from performing some tasks for himself or herself. Therefore, as a guardian, there are limitations on the decision-making authority you have over your ward.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.