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Duties of Guardian of the Property

A Guardian of the Property has the duty to locate and marshal all assets of the ward. Once all of the ward’s assets have been located, the Guardian must protect and preserve the assets throughout the duration of the guardianship. This protection and preservation of guardianship assets will include paying insurance on real property and vehicles; paying property taxes; collecting rental income; and staying current on all revolving expenses related to the assets of the ward.

After the Guardian of the Property has located and taken possession of the ward’s assets, he or she must prepare and file an initial guardianship report, which will include a verified inventory of assets. The inventory must list all of the assets of the guardianship and the location of each asset. The inventory may be amended upon the Guardian’s discovery of additional guardianship property.

Upon termination of the Guardianship, the Guardianship of the property must deliver all guardianship property to the person lawfully entitled to such property. Pay-on-death and joint accounts shall be surrendered to the designated beneficiaries and joint owners. All assets titled in the name of the ward shall be surrendered to the Personal Representative of the ward’s estate.

A Guardian of the Property may take certain actions and exercise certain powers without court approval. Powers that may be exercised without court approval include receiving and retaining assets of the ward; voting securities owned by the ward; paying expenses and encumbrances related to assets of the ward; and other powers specifically enumerated in Section 744.444 of the Florida Statutes.

A Guardian of the Property may take certain actions after obtaining approval of the Court. Acts that must be authorized by the Court include performing contracts on behalf of the ward; abandoning property of the ward; borrowing money to protect guardianship assets; and other acts specifically enumerated in Section 744.441 of the Florida Statutes.

Duties of Guardian of the Person

A Guardian of the Person may take such actions as may be reasonable and necessary to exercise the rights of the ward that have been judicially delegated to the Guardian. Generally, in an order determining incapacity, the Court will specifically list those rights of the ward that have been delegated to the Guardian of the Person. Those rights may include the right to determine the residence of the ward; to consent to medical and mental health treatment of the ward; and to apply for government benefits on behalf of the ward. The extent of the court’s delegation of rights to the guardian will depend on the degree of incapacity of the ward.

A Guardian of the Person must obtain court approval prior to taking certain actions, including committing the ward to a facility or institution; initiating a proceeding for dissolution of marriage on the ward’s behalf; consenting on behalf of the ward to terminate the ward’s parental rights; and other actions enumerated in Section 744.3215 of the Florida Statutes.