Florida law requires that a guardian of the property for a minor to be opened whenever a minor receives a net settlement or judgment that exceeds $15,000. F.S 744.387. In addition, a Florida guardianship for a minor is also needed when the minor receives funds due to a wrongful death.
Other reasons why a guardian of the property for a minor will be needed includes when a minor is the beneficiary of an estate or trust, life insurance policy or annuity, or a benefit plan in excess of $15,000.
A guardian of the person for the minor may be required when the minor’s natural parents (biological or adopted parents) are unavailable or unable to serve as the custodian of the child. This typically happens when the minor’s natural guardian passes away, is disabled, or is incarcerated.
A Florida resident who is sui juris and is 18 years of age or older qualifies as a guardian.
A person may not be appointed as a guardian if the person has been convicted of felony, is incapacitated, has been judicially been determined to have committed abuse or neglect against a child, or a person who has been found guilty, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any offense prohibited under Section 435.04, Florida Statutes.
Unless a natural guardian lacks the qualifications to act as guardian, the natural parent should be considered first as the guardian of the property for the minor.
It is usually unnecessary to appoint a guardian of the person because the natural parents have all the rights of a guardian of the person as natural guardians.
A guardian of a minor is started with the petition for appointment of a guardian. Compared to the guardianship of an adult, no adjudication of incapacity is needed for a minor.
In addition to filing the petition for appointment of a guardian, the petition must give formal notice to any parent who is not a petition or who has not consented to the appointment. If there is no parent, notice must be given to the persons whom the minor resides.
If all the persons required to be given notice consent to the appointment, the Guardianship Court may appoint a guardian without a hearing. If all the persons entitled to notice do not consent, then a hearing will take place to determine the guardian.
If you are the parent or have legal custody of a minor and he or she is receiving a settlement or some other property in excess of $15,000, do not hesitate to contact us to help you with the petition for appointment of the minor.
We are happy to help and have a lot of experience dealing with these cases. Call us today at (305) 489-1415 or complete the form in this page.