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Adult legal guardianship

Orlando, FL |

I need to obtain legal guardianship for my adult daughter who is handicapped before placing her in an adult home. I want to be able to bring her back home if she's not doing well. I'm not eligible for legal aid and I can't afford a lawyer. Where and how can I do this?

The above question is similar to my friends situation one exception is she seeking guardianship of her adult sister who is somewhat handicapped and in a adult group home. Everything stated in the above statement is true.

Attorney Answers 2


Thanks for your question. I would call the Orlando Bar Association. The number is 407-422-4551. Ask for a pro-bono attorney to help you in your situation. They usually have a list of attornies who can help with persons who do not qualify for legal aid.

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I would also suggest that you do as much reading on Guardianship as you can. This won't subsitute for the advise of your attorney, but it will help you be better informed and understand the process and expense associated with these types of proceedings.

Guardianship law is controlled primarily by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes though local rules may influence a particular statute’s application. {28 Fla. Jur. 2d Guardian and Ward §5 (2004).} Procedures for all guardianship proceedings are governed by the Florida Probate Rules. {Id.; Fla. Prob. R. 5.010} Thus, a proper
application of guardianship law requires adherence to the Florida Statutes, the applicable local court rules, Florida Probate Rules and applicable court decisions.

Your question isn't clear if your daughter has mental capacity to make an informed choice, but there are also other alternatives to a formal guardianship that you may wish to consider:

a. Durable Power of Attorney. If a person has the requisite capacity to execute a Durable Power of Attorney, a guardianship might be avoided. This document, however, only gives another person the right to do certain things outlined in the document. So, an attorney-in-fact under such a document cannot force the maker of the document to do anything the maker does not want to do.

b. Designation of Health Care Surrogate. If a health care surrogate has been designated in writing, he or she has the authority to make medical decisions (and some mental health treatment decisions if the document so provides).

c. Jointly Held Assets. If a person’s predicament relates solely to assets and those assets are jointly owned, one joint owner can act (generally) without the consent of the other, depending entirely on what sort of asset it is.

d. Guardian Advocate for Developmentally Disabled. Under Florida Statute 393.12, a Guardian Advocate can be appointed for a developmentally disabled individual without the necessity of an incapacity determination. The Advocate may make medical and residential decisions.

e. Guardian Advocate for Mental Health Decisions. Under Florida Statute 394.4598, a Guardian Advocate can be appointed for a patient in a mental health facility who has been found to be incompetent to consent to treatment.

Best of luck to you and your daughter,

Shawn C. Newman, Esq.
Attorney At Law
1881 NE 26th Street, Suite 212E
Wilton Manors, FL 33305
(877) 552-9385

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