Senior Care Strategies


What is a Guardianship?

Guardianship is the management of the affairs of a person who has been judged through a legal process to lack the ability or capacity to take care of their own nutrition, health, housing or physical safety. In some instances, the person may be at risk for financial exploitation and are unable to manage their property/estate or financial affairs. A guardian assumes the rights of this individual (referred to as the“ward”) to make decisions about many aspects of daily life. A guardian is directed by ethics and statute to make decisions in the best interest of the ward.

Types of Guardianship

The two most common types of guardianship are limited and plenary. In a limited guardianship, the guardian assumes only the delegable rights specified by court order, and the ward retains all other decision-making rights. A plenary guardianship is a guardianship in which the court gives the guardian the power to exercise all legal rights and duties on behalf of the ward who has been adjudicated to be incapacitated. By Florida law, a plenary guardianship can pertain to the person, their estate, or both.

Guardianship Responsibilities

To the person (the ward)

To the person (the ward)

  • Determining and monitoring the ward’s residence
  • Consenting to and monitoring medical and non-medical treatment/services
  • Making end-of-life decisions
  • Maximizing independence in the least restrictive manner
  • Determining with whom and under what conditions a person may socialize

To the property

To the property

Guardianship of the estate or property may include anything that is the subject of ownership, whether tangible or intangible. The court may order the guardian to take control of and be responsible for the following:

  • Acting as representative payee
  • Determining and applying for benefits
  • Obtaining appraisals of property
  • Protecting property and assets from loss
  • Receiving income for the estate
  • Making appropriate disbursements, obtaining a court approval

Florida laws govern guardianship proceedings and guardian activities, all of which are designed to protect the interests of the ward. A Florida guardian is accountable to the local court and must report annually on the status of the ward and account for all financial activity.

Why hire a Professional Guardian?

The decision to hire a professional guardian can be a daunting one.  In making the decision, you should consider what may occur if you do not hire a professional guardian:

  • Are you comfortable making some very difficult decisions?
  • Do you have the time and ability to serve as a guardian?
  • Are you prepared to deal with the complexities and frustrations inherent in the legal process?
  • Will the time devoted to guardianship impact relationships with your spouse and other family members?

Answering these questions will require a great deal of thought and consideration. Your role as guardian may be temporary due to an acute health incident or it may be for as long as that person is alive.

When a person is no longer able to make their own decisions and needs someone else to step in and ensure their best quality of life, Senior Care Strategies can help by using the same comprehensive care and services provided in our Care Management Program. We will arrange and coordinate services that optimize the health, welfare and safety of the people we serve. We take into consideration the individual and involve them in the decision-making process.If possible, we strive to keep our wards at home and independent. Acting as a professional guardian, we are responsible to the court and must provide reports to them on a regular basis.