Legal guardianship is when an adult has legal decision-making authority over a minor or another person. The courts will appoint a surrogate decision-maker to make personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or an adult with physical or mental disabilities. Once adjudication is complete, the subject of the guardianship is called a “ward.”
Under Florida law, the court must appoint a guardian for minors in circumstances where both parents die or become incapacitated. Guardianship is only warranted when no other less restrictive alternative, including durable power of attorney (POA), trust, health care proxy, or other form of directive can be found by the court as appropriate. Both voluntary and involuntary guardianships can be petitioned for appointment under Title XLIII Domestic Relations Chapter 744 Guardianship of the Florida Statutes.