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What is a guardian and what are their duties?

Many Florida residents may know how they want their assets divided once they have passed away. They may have even developed a comprehensive will that explicitly spells out their final wishes. However, they may not know what can be done to care for a special family member once they are gone. Situations like this call for a guardianship to be set up. But what is a guardian and how can they help a special family member?

A guardian is an individual who is named either by a testator or by a court to make legal decisions for another person, known as a ward. This person may be a young child or someone who is not capable of making their own decisions. A guardian is usually someone who knows the ward, such as a spouse or other relative, but it can be a private person or a state employee named by the court.

Guardians are entrusted to always make decisions that are in the best interest of the ward. These include all decisions regarding medical treatment and care. They must also manage all of the finances of the ward and take care of all of the ward's educational needs. Their responsibility can also include providing all of the necessary basics for the ward including food, clothing, personal items and even automobiles.

A guardian can be removed from the care of a ward if a court of law determines that the ward doesn't need the guardian anymore. The guardian can also be removed if the court believes that the guardian is not acting in the best interests of the ward. However, any Florida resident who is interested in learning more about guardianship may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to find out exactly how this process can be set up and managed.

Source: www.family.findlaw.com, "Guardianship basics", Accessed October 3, 2016

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