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Five Things You Need To Know About Emergency Temporary Guardianship In Florida

Temporary Emergency Guardianship

Florida Guardianship Law has a procedure to protect adults who are in imminent danger that their physical or mental health and safety will be impaired or, that their assets are in danger of being wasted, misappropriated by another person or, lost if immediate Court action is not taken. The process is called an emergency temporary guardianship. Do you know someone who is:

  • being neglected by themself or others resulting in their physical and/or mental decline (no fresh food, not eating, medications not refilled, not properly self-administering prescriptions, not seeking medical attention for a condition/illness/disease)? Or,
  • not paying their bills on time and their utility services are disconnected? Or,
  • being financially exploited by a neighbor, service provider (i.e. home health aide), vendor (i.e. being sold a product such as a new roof that they don’t need) or family member? And something is impairing that person’s ability to protect themself?

If you answered ‘yes’ then here is what you need to know to be prepared:

  1. Once the court papers are filed you can get an emergency hearing;
  2. If you and your attorney present witnesses and provide evidence to document the imminent danger or wasting of assets, an emergency temporary guardian will be appointed with authority for 90 days to stabilize the situation;
  3. The emergency temporary guardian (ETG) must be represented by an attorney to guide them;
  4. The emergency temporary guardian is required to prepare written reports to the Court (an inventory if you are ETG of Property and a plan if you are ETG of the Person);
  5. The emergency temporary guardianship may lead into a permanent guardianship if the individual does not recover capacity and documents do not exist that serve as a less restrictive alternative to the court proceeding (i.e. Durable Power of Attorney, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, Revocable Trust Agreement).

Tip: If you think you need to pursue an emergency temporary guardianship don’t delay because each day can place a vulnerable person in greater danger. Keep a journal of the facts, take photos and videos to document, and make a list of people with personal knowledge of the situation. Schedule a consultation with an experienced guardianship attorney as soon as possible.