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What is the role of a guardian in Ft. Myers?

Guardianships and how they're structured is an issue that frequently arises in Fr. Myers and throughout the state. There are often misconceptions about how a guardian goes about his or her duties and what it is the guardian actually does. Understanding various factors regarding guardianships is important when there are concerns about them, and knowing the powers and duties allocated to the guardian can help with handling any problems or questions that might arise from them.

If there is a person who has become incapacitated, the right to manage that person's affairs can be delegated to a guardian. In some instances, the guardian is overseeing the affairs of a minor, in which case the guardian will have the powers of a plenary, or absolute, guardian. Guardians must file initial reports, annual reports and implement the plan under the rules of the guardianship. If there are two guardians of a ward or more, the guardians must consult and agree as to how the situation will be dealt with.

The guardian is required to protect the property of the ward and invest it in a prudent fashion. It must be faithfully accounted for. The other duties required of the guardian must be performed according to the law. Once the guardianship has been terminated, the property must be returned to the ward or to whomever is entitled to it. There are standards that must be observed when property under guardianship is at issue. If there are specific skills that predicated the naming of that particular guardian, the guardian is required to utilize those skills in an aboveboard manner to the best of his or her ability.

If authorized to do so, the guardian must take possession of the property of the ward and of any profit that accrues from it. If the guardian is a professional guardian, the guardian or the guardian's staff must visit the ward at least once every calendar quarter. The ward's situation with regard to physical and psychological condition, living requirements and other needs must be assessed and any appropriate action taken. These are just a few of the responsibilities and rules a guardian must follow. Guardianships are frequently the subject of probate litigation that leads to a court battle. If there are concerns about these issues, it's important to consider obtaining competent legal advice from a legal professional experienced in guardianships.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, "744.361 Powers and duties of guardian," accessed on Mar. 3, 2015

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