Developmental disabilities include cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, Prader-Willi Syndrome, or other conditions that that manifest before the age of 18 and that constitute a substantial handicap that can reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely. The focus is on the decision-making ability of the person needing the Guardian.
How do YOU become a Guardian Advocate? First, you must be over the age of 18 and be a resident of the state of Florida. You must also submit to a level 2 background check under and provide a live fingerprint scan, and lastly, you MUST have an attorney if you are seeking to be the guardian of the property other than Social Security or other governmental benefits.
If you meet all the qualifications to become a Guardian Advocate, you can begin the process of becoming appointed as one. This process begins with a Petition that is filed with the Court along with the Oath of Guardian Advocate and a Designation and Acceptance of Resident Agent.
The next step will be to schedule a hearing with the Court. Upon successful completion of the documentation process, you should receive a letter or call from the Clerk of Court providing you with your case number, the name of your Judge, and the name of the attorney appointed to represent the person with the disability. (Tip: You will have to coordinate this hearing with the attorney appointed to represent the disabled person.) Prior to the hearing, you should draft a proposed order and Letters of Guardian Advocacy and bring them with you to the hearing.
After the hearing, but within 60 days of being appointed as the Guardian Advocate, you will need to submit what is called the Initial Plan. The Initial Plan provides information to the Court as to how you plan to care for the Ward. Additionally, within 90 days of the date of the anniversary of your appointment as a Guardian Advocate, each year you are required to file an Annual Plan.
If you are interested in becoming a Guardian Advocate or know someone who may need one, please contact our office at (407)-512-4394 and ask to speak to one of our knowledgeable and experienced Guardianship attorneys, Pamela Martini or Maytel Bonham. CLICK HERE to download our Guardian Advocacy Bootcamp Presentation.