What is a Guardian?

Guardianship is a legal process that delegates the rights of a person who has been determined incapacitated to someone else who will act on their behalf. It is court-ordered protection for someone unable to make decisions, unable to communicate decisions, or unable to act in their own best interest. Professional guardianship services are for vulnerable people who have gone through a judicial process to determine that this is the last resort.

Vulnerable Conditions for Guardianship

Age-related decision impairment

Traumatic brain injury

Significant developmental or intellectual disability

Substance abuse or mental health issues

Lady with Hands in Lap

Other Reasons for a Guardianship




No prior advance directives

Death of a partner/designated family member

Discord among family members

A family member is a preferred choice to be appointed as guardian for an incapacitated person. When a family member is unavailable, unwilling, or unable, a Professional Guardian can be appointed. Though the conversations can be difficult, there are alternatives to guardianship that can be put in place before a court-appointed guardian for adults is needed.

Alternatives to Guardianship

Designation of Health Care Surrogate

Power of Attorney

Case Management

Voluntary Guardianship

Professional Guardian in Florida

The court may not appoint a professional guardian who is not registered by the Office of the Public and Professional Guardians (OPPG). A professional guardian in Florida must apply to the OPPG which is housed in the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. As a part of the application process, a professional guardian in Florida must also complete 40 hours of training and pass a competency exam, submit a complete credit report, undergo fingerprinting and pass a level II criminal background screening, and obtain an initial blanket bond in the amount of $50,000.

A court-appointed guardian for adults will have additional requirements from the judicial circuit courts and Clerks of the Circuit Court throughout Florida once they are registered as a professional guardian. A professional guardian must know the procedures in the areas of Florida they intend to practice.

Professional Guardians are the last resort we have for individuals who cannot care for themselves and do not have other alternatives available to them. Though they are often maligned for their willingness to care for some of our nation’s most vulnerable populations, professional guardians have the heart and compassion to step in when the family – for whatever reason – has stepped out. Their commitment to others is why Guardians are a Resource We Love!

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