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Can Florida guardians terminate their legal responsibilities?

Many Florida families have found themselves in the unfortunate situation where they needed to find a guardian to take care of a senior family member's legal and personal affairs. This is usually because the senior is no longer able to make his or her own decisions anymore, especially when it comes to estate planning. The guardian can be a family member, relative or trusted family friend. Once approved and appointed by a court, the guardian will then be able to legally care for this family member, who is also known as a ward. But sometimes a guardian's circumstances change and he or she may need to relinquish their guardianship. But exactly when can a Florida guardian give up their legal duties?

There are several potential situations where a guardian can relinquish their duties. The first is if the ward is able to regain at least some of his or her abilities. Should this happen, a "suggestion of capacity" must be submitted to a Florida court notifying it of the change in the ward's abilities. The court will then send a doctor to visit and examine the ward. Afterwards, the doctor will submit a report to the court. Based on what the doctor's report says, a judge can then restore, either in part or in full, the ward's rights. The guardian can then file what are known as "final steps" in order to be relieved of their duties.

Another situation where a guardian can give up their duties is if the ward physically relocates to a different state. However, before this can happen, the guardian must notify the court about this change and wait for the court to approve it. Once approved, the guardian must then send all of the ward's related files and materials to a new court in the new state. After this is done, the guardian may then transfer guardianship of the ward to another individual in that state. But, the guardian in Florida must file the proper paperwork in the original state indicating that another suitable guardian has been found in the new state.

There are several additional circumstances where a Florida guardian may give up their duties, including if the ward should die or if the ward's assets have been used up. Florida residents who are interested in obtaining additional information should seek the advice they need to better understand the topic of guardianship.

Source: FindLaw, "Termination of Florida Guardianships," accessed March 23, 2015

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