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Broward County Guardianship Association

BCGA is a tax exmept 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1990 for the improvement of guardianship services. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law; FederalID #65-0304731. BCGA is governed by a Board of Directors representing Broward County, Florida.

What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit courts of Florida and begins with a determination of the individual's capacity or lack thereof. A guardian exercises the delegable legal rights for another individual called a ward of the court. A guardian can be either an individual or an institution such as, but not limited to, a bank trust department. A guardian is appointed by the courts when an individual has been adjudicated as incapacitated or lacking the capacity to care for self and/or estate matters.

Types of Guardianships
Two common types of guardianship are limited and plenary. In a limited guardianship, the guardian assumes only the delegable rights specifically given by a court order, and the subject of the guardianship (called a ward of the court) keeps all other decision making rights not specifically outlined by the court. In a plenary guardianship, the rights enumerated in Florida law that can be delegated can be applied to the person, the estate, or both.

Guardianship of the person may allow the guardian to have responsibility of the following for the ward:
  • Determining and monitoring place of the ward's residence
  • Consenting to and monitoring medical treatment
  • Consenting to and monitoring non-medical services, such as education or counseling
  • Releaseing confidential information
  • Making end-of-life decisions
  • Maximizing independence in the least restrictive manner
Guardianship of the estate or property may include anything that is the subject of ownership, whether tagible or intangible. The court may order the guardian to take control of, and be responsible for, the following:
  • Acting as representative payee
  • Determining benefits
  • Obtaining appraisals of property
  • Protecting property and assets from loss
  • Receiving income for the estate
  • Making appropriate disbursements (the guardian may need to obtain court approval prior to the disposition of those assets enumerated in Florida Statue 744.441)

Alternatives to Guardianship
Because establishing a guardianship is highly intrusive and involves the removal of rights from an individual, it should be considered only after other alternatives have been examined. When an individual still retains the capacity to act on his/her own behalf, the following may be evaluated and determined as viable alternatives to guardianship:
  • Case/Care Management
  • Health Care Surrogacy
  • Living Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Joint Tenancy
  • Community Services

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