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How Florida Guardianship Laws Have Changed Over the Past Three Years

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How Florida Guardianship Laws Have Changed Over the Past 3 Years

Florida guardianship laws have changed a lot in recent years. In the past three years, they have evolved to incorporate stricter requirements for individuals to become guardians. Below are some examples of how these guardianship laws have developed:

  • 2014

In June of 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 635. This revised the guardianship statutes of Florida to provide increased security for wards in guardianship proceedings by implementing a stricter screen process for proposed guardians by providing stricter examination of a guardian’s control over the assets of a ward. This intensified scrutiny allowed courts to attain more information on a potential guardian’s application to determine the proposed guardian’s suitability for appointment. Additionally, H.B. 635 allowed the clerk’s office to conduct more in-depth assessments of guardianship assets when appropriate. Relatedly, guardians who failed to comply with these newer auditing processes could face penalties, including removal.

  • 2015

A year later, Governor Scott added 19 statues that impacted guardianships by including additional protections for wards in guardianship proceedings and more checks on guardians’ powers. In addition, Governor Scott amended the automatic suspension procedure so that while the automatic suspension could still generally apply to powers of attorney, the revised law provided an exception for specific family members, including the principal’s spouse, parent, grandchild, or child, whose appointments under powers of attorney would not be automatically suspended after a petition to determine incapacity was filed. Among many other revisions, the 2015 law specifically prohibited guardians from neglecting, exploiting, and abusing a ward, although no penalties were specifically established.

  • 2016 (now)

In March of this year, Governor Scott signed S.B. 232, which is the third major guardianship bill implemented in the past three years. Unlike the other bills, this one created the Office of Public and Professional Guardians (OPPG) and endowed the OPPG with major disciplinary powers over professional guardians.

This wide range of changes may seem complicated for an individual who needs help in this area. The Jacksonville family law attorneys at Owenby Law, P.A. remain up to date with the newest laws and revisions to previous laws, giving our team the ability to handle complexities on behalf of our clients.

To get in touch with us, call Owenby Law, P.A. right away.