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Understanding the Distinction Between Guardian Advocates and Guardians


Guardianship is a legal arrangement designed to protect individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to incapacity. In the state of Florida, the legal system recognizes two distinct roles – guardian advocates and guardians – each serving a unique purpose. In this post, we will delve into the differences between guardian advocates and guardians to provide a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities.


Guardianship in Florida: Guardianship in Florida is a legal process that involves appointing someone to make decisions on behalf of an individual who is deemed incapacitated. This may include decisions related to healthcare, finances, and other aspects of daily life. The court oversees the appointment of guardians to ensure that the rights and best interests of the incapacitated person are protected.


Guardians: In the traditional sense, a guardian in Florida is an individual or institution appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of someone who has been declared incapacitated. Guardians are typically appointed for minors or adults who are unable to make decisions due to mental, physical, or developmental disabilities. The court grants specific powers to the guardian, specifying the areas in which they are authorized to act on behalf of the incapacitated person.


Guardian Advocates: The concept of guardian advocacy in Florida is a bit different and is primarily designed for individuals with developmental disabilities. Guardian advocacy allows family members or friends to petition the court for the appointment of a guardian advocate without the need for a full guardianship proceeding. This streamlined process is intended to be less intrusive, recognizing the capacity of individuals with developmental disabilities to participate in decision-making to the greatest extent possible.


Key Differences:


Scope of Application: Guardians can be appointed for minors or adults with various types of incapacities.

Guardian advocacy is specifically designed for individuals with developmental disabilities.


Court Process: Guardianship typically involves a more formal and comprehensive court process.

Guardian advocacy is a simplified process, aimed at reducing the burden on families while still ensuring protection for individuals with developmental disabilities.


Decision-Making Authority: Guardians are granted specific powers by the court to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.

Guardian advocates work more collaboratively with individuals with developmental disabilities, aiming to empower them to make decisions to the extent possible.


Understanding the differences between guardian advocates and guardians is crucial for individuals navigating the complexities of guardianship in Florida. Whether seeking to protect the rights of a loved one with developmental disabilities through guardian advocacy or addressing the needs of an incapacitated family member through traditional guardianship, having a clear understanding of these roles can help families make informed decisions and ensure the well-being of those they seek to protect.


When faced with the complex legal landscape of guardianship, it is paramount to seek the guidance of an attorney who specializes in this field. Yergey and Yergey, P.A. is an attorney with expertise in guardianship matters and possesses the nuanced in the understanding of the legal processes, requirements, and potential challenges inherent to this area of law. They can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the intricacies of appointing a guardian, understanding the specific needs of individuals facing incapacity, and ensuring that the legal rights and best interests of all parties involved are protected.

To schedule a consultation with our experienced guardianship attorney and take the first step toward addressing your legal needs, please feel free to contact us at (407) 843-0430. Our dedicated team is here to assist you with any inquiries, provide guidance on guardianship matters, and ensure that you receive the personalized attention and expertise required for your specific situation. Don't hesitate to reach out, and let us help you navigate the legal complexities of guardianship with professionalism and care.

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