Parents play a vital role in their children’s lives, providing support, education, nourishment, and decisions on very important matters. Sadly, circumstances sometimes prevent parents from offering their children everything they need. They may die, lose custody through court proceedings, or simply become unable to provide adequate care and guidance.
When this occurs, the courts can appoint guardians to children in need. Serving as a guardian is a very important responsibility requiring a careful understanding of family law. To learn more about the rights and responsibilities of minors and their guardians, call the Schlegel Law Group’s experienced Orlando guardianship lawyers.
Who can be a Guardian?
Many parents have living wills naming the individuals they want to serve as their children’s guardians if they pass away or become incapacitated. Courts generally honor these requests, but they have the right to select the people they decide are most qualified as guardians. Anyone may serve as a guardian if he or she is:
- At least 18 years old
- Of sound mind and body
- A resident of Florida if not related to the minor
- A blood or legal relative of the minor (even if he or she is not a Florida resident)
- A representative of a state or national bank or trust (to represent the minor in financial matters)
- A representative of a religious or charitable organization
While many people qualify to serve as a guardian, it is not always easy to be named as one. Courts consider other factors such as a person’s education, relevant experience, relationship with the minor, and ability to handle the minor’s unique circumstances.
What does a Guardian do?
A guardian’s job is to make financial, legal, and lifestyle-related decisions in the best interests of the minor, also known as the ward. A guardian is charged with the task of protecting the ward’s rights, preserving his or her dignity, and improving his or her quality of life. A guardian’s more specific duties may vary depending on the ward’s age, abilities, and circumstances. Whether you have been appointed as a guardian, have concerns about your child’s welfare in the event of your death, or need any other information about guardianship laws, we can help.