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PROBATE COURT
Guardianship



REPORT FRAUD OR, WASTE FOR CASES INVOLVING GUARDIANSHIP CASES
 
A Guardianship is a legal arrangement under which a person (the guardian) has the legal right and duty to care for another (the ward) and his or her property. A guardian must be represented by an attorney.

Types of guardianships:

A guardianship is established when a person’s is unable to legally act on his/her own behalf. This may be due to *minority, (he or she is not of age), or due to mental and/or physical *incapacity. A competent adult may also petition the court to appoint a *voluntary guardian for himself or herself.

*Minority: A guardianship must be established for the property of a minor child when an amount over $15,000 is to be paid to the minor. This may occur through an inheritance or through a settlement of a legal action. Guardianship of the person of a minor child may need to be established if both natural parents are deceased, incapacitated or unavailable.
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*Incapacity: A guardianship for an alleged incapacitated person can be initiated by filing a “Petition to Determine Capacity” and a “Petition to Appoint Guardian” with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Probate Court Records department. (The proposed guardian must be represented by an attorney).

The alleged incapacitated person and next of kin will be served with a notice and a copy of the court order appointing an examining committee and setting a hearing. An attorney will be appointed to represent the alleged incapacitated at the hearing. Each member of the examining committee submits his/her report to the court after examining the alleged incapacitated person. At the hearing, the court will make a determination regarding the capacity of the alleged, and if necessary, appoint a guardian.
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*Voluntary: A person may voluntarily petition the court for appointment of a guardian for his/her property when, though mentally competent, he or she is incapable of the care, custody, and management of his estate by reason of age or physical infirmity. A certificate of a licensed physician is required, stating that he has examined the person and that the person is competent to understand the nature of the guardianship and his delegation of authority.
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Guardian Qualifications:
A person 18 years of age or older who has an interest in the protection of the personal or property rights of the incapacitated person may qualify to serve as a court appointed guardian. A completed Application for Appointment of Guardian form must be submitted by the proposed guardian at the time a guardianship case is opened. The Court will review the application to ensure the guardian will best serve the needs of the ward.

Responsibilities of the Guardian:

  • A guardian of the property is required to file an Initial Inventory of the ward’s assets within 60 days of his appointment. Subsequently, an annual accounting of the assets will be required.
  • A guardian of the person is required to file an Initial Plan for the care of the ward within 60 days of his appointment. Subsequently, an annual plan is required to provide information to the court about the health and physical well being of the ward.
Guardianship Report forms required:
Pinellas County Administrative Order No. 2009-36 PA/PI-CIR mandates the use of specific forms for the filing of these required reports. The forms and a copy of the Administrative Order are available at http://www.jud6.org.

Fingerprint requirement for Guardians:
Effective April 1, 2012, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) no longer accepts or processes hard copy guardian applicant fingerprint cards. Fingerprints are to be submitted electronically via a live scan device. Locations providing this service can be found at www.myfloridacfo.com by entering “livescan fingerprint locations” in the search engine, then clicking on “Fingerprinting” which will provide a list of locations. This will also provide information for non-resident applicants.

Professional guardians must also submit an annual clerk’s fee of $7.50 per Florida Statute 744.3135 (1).

Audit of Guardianship reports:
The law assigns the responsibility for auditing the reports to The Clerk of the Circuit Court. The Court then reviews the Clerk’s audit.

Audit Fees:
Audit fees are set by Florida Statute and based on the value of the ward’s estate. Refer to the Schedule of Service Charges for current audit fees.

Initial fees required for credit and criminal background investigation checks:
Pinellas County Administrative Order No. 2009-36 PA/PI-CIR requires an initial investigative fee:

All guardians: $27.50

For more information about guardian duties and responsibilities:
More details are available on the Court’s website: www.jud6.org.

Filing fees required to open a new guardianship case:
Please refer to the Schedule of Service Charges for current fees.


Information is available about the following areas of the Probate Division:


Where to file guardianship cases:
You may file guardianship paperwork at the following locations:

PROBATE COURT RECORDS
315 Court Street, Room 106
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 464-3321

NORTH COUNTY BRANCH OFFICE
29582 U.S. 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33761
(727) 464-7000

ST. PETERSBURG BRANCH OFFICE
545 First Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 464-7000

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