Removal of a Guardian is governed by Section 744.474 of the Florida Statutes which sets forth twenty-one reasons a Guardian may be removed by the Court:
- Fraud in obtaining appointment as Guardian;
- Failure to discharge the duties of a Guardian;
- Abuse of the Guardian’s powers;
- An incapacity or illness, including substance abuse, which renders the Guardian incapable of discharging his or her duties;
- Failure to comply with an order of the Court;
- Failure to return schedules of property sold or accounts of sales of property or to produce and exhibit the ward’s assets when so required;
- The wasting, embezzlement, or other mismanagement of the ward’s property;
- Failure to give bond or security for any purpose when required by the court or failure to file with the annual guardianship plan the evidence required by Section 744.351 of the Florida Statutes that the sureties on his or her bond are alive and solvent;
- Conviction of a felony;
- Appointment of a receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, or liquidator for any corporate Guardian;
- Development of a conflict of interest between the ward and the Guardian;
- Having been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense prohibited under Section 435.04 of the Florida Statutes, or similar statute of another jurisdiction;
- A material failure to comply with the guardianship report by the Guardian;
- A failure to comply with the rules for timely filing the initial and annual guardianship reports;
- A failure to fulfill the guardianship education requirements;
- Improper management of the ward’s assets;
- A material change in the ward’s financial circumstances such that the Guardian is no longer qualified to manage the finances of the ward, or the previous degree of management is no longer required;
- After appointment, the Guardian becomes a disqualified person as set forth in Section 744.309(3) of the Florida Statutes;
- Upon a showing by a person who did not receive notice of the petition for adjudication of incapacity, when such notice is required, or who is related to the ward within the relationships specified for nonresident relatives in Sections 744.309(2) and 744.312(2) of the Florida Statutes, and who has not previously been rejected by the Court as Guardian that the current Guardian is not a family member and subsection (20) applies;
- Upon a showing that removal of the current Guardian is in the best interest of the ward. In determining whether a Guardian who is related by blood or marriage to the ward is to be removed, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the Guardian is acting in the best interests of the ward; and
- A bad faith failure to submit guardianship records during the audit pursuant to Section 744.368 of the Florida Statutes.
Proceedings for removal of a Guardian may be initiated by the Court, by any surety or interested person, or by the ward. The Petition to Remove the Guardian must explain with particularity the reasons why the Guardian should be removed.
Once a Guardian is successfully removed, he or she must file a final accounting for the guardianship within 20 days of removal. The removed Guardian must turn over all property of the ward to the successor Guardian. The failure to do so may result in sanctions by the Court.