Guardian Advocacy

Navigating guardianships and guardian advocacy in Florida is challenging, to say the least. That’s particularly true when dealing with the needs of a loved one with an intellectual disability or mental illness.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about the legal avenues available to you, you’re not alone. And help is available.


Below is a guide to understanding the realm of guardian advocacy in Florida. If at any point you feel the need for legal assistance, reach out to Florida guardian advocate attorney William C. Roof.

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How to Become an Appointed Guardian Advocate in Florida

Becoming a guardian advocate in Florida is a structured process, designed to ensure the best interests of the individual in need.


Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

Understanding Eligibility

Before considering guardian advocacy, it’s essential to understand that it’s primarily for individuals diagnosed with a developmental disability before the age of 18. Unlike traditional guardianship, the individual is not declared incapacitated.

Filing a Petition

An “interested person,” which could be the individual with a disability or a loved one, can initiate the process by submitting a petition to the court. This petition should include the individual’s basic details and the reason for seeking guardian advocacy.

Court Proceedings

After submitting the petition, a court hearing is typically scheduled within 30 days. During this hearing, a judge will review records, hear testimony, and determine the rights the guardian advocate will have.

Appointment of a Guardian Advocate

If deemed appropriate, the court system will appoint a guardian advocate. This individual can be a family member, friend, or caregiver equipped to cater to the individual’s unique needs.

The Powers and Duties of a Guardian Advocate

Being a guardian advocate comes with specific powers and responsibilities, all tailored to ensure the well-being of the individual in question.


Here are the basics:


  • Guardian advocate of the person. This role involves making decisions about where the individual will live, their medical care, and other personal matters. The aim is to respect the individual’s autonomy as much as possible.

  • Guardian advocate of the property. This advocate handles financial decisions for the individual, including managing assets, paying bills, and overseeing bank accounts.

  • Accountability. Guardian advocates must submit reports to the court, detailing plans for the individual’s care and well-being. They might also need to attend court-approved educational programs about their role.

Guardian Advocacy vs. Guardianship in Florida

Guardianship and guardian advocacy, while similar, are not the same under Florida statutes. Here’s a brief comparison:


    • Guardianship. This is a more comprehensive legal process where the individual is often declared incapacitated. It might involve transferring many, if not all, legal rights from the individual to the guardian.

    • Guardian advocacy. Unlike guardianship, the individual retains more rights under guardian advocacy. The guardian advocate aids in decision-making but doesn’t overshadow the individual’s autonomy.

Guardianship & Guardian Advocacy Basics You Should Know

While both guardianship and guardian advocacy are established to protect the vulnerable, the latter is a less restrictive alternative.

Guardian advocacy is primarily available for those with developmental disabilities diagnosed before age 18. It’s crucial to understand these nuances and seek the appropriate legal pathway for your unique situation.

That’s where an advocacy attorney like William C. Roof can help.

Reasons to Contact a Guardian Advocate Lawyer

Seeking guardianship or guardian advocacy is a significant step — one that often intertwines complex legal processes and emotional decisions.


While it’s possible to navigate this path alone, having a legal guide by your side can make all the difference in your stress and, ultimately, the outcome.


Here are some key reasons to seek the assistance of a guardian advocate lawyer in Florida:


    • Diligent guidance. The legalities surrounding guardianship and guardian advocacy can be confusing. And mistakes can cause big problems for you. A qualified lawyer can provide clarity, ensuring you understand every step of the process.


    • Streamlined process. With a lawyer’s assistance, the process of filing petitions, gathering necessary documentation, and attending court hearings becomes more efficient. They’re familiar with the system and can help expedite procedures.


    • Protecting rights. Whether you’re the one seeking to become a guardian advocate or you’re the individual in need of one, the right law firm ensures that all parties’ rights are upheld and respected throughout the process.


    • Objective counsel. Emotions can sometimes cloud judgment. And the processes surrounding guardian advocacy are often full of emotion. A lawyer provides objective advice, ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of the individual needing guardianship.


    • Avoiding legal pitfalls. Mistakes in the guardianship process can lead to delays or unfavorable outcomes. An experienced lawyer can help you sidestep common pitfalls, ensuring a smoother journey.


    • Staying updated. Florida laws and regulations surrounding guardianship and guardian advocacy can change. A dedicated lawyer will make sure everything about your case is fully up to date and up to speed.


    • Peace of mind. Knowing you have an experienced attorney guiding you through the complexities of guardian advocacy provides serious peace of mind. It allows you to focus on the well-being of your loved one while remaining confident that the legal aspects are in safe hands.

If you’re considering the guardian advocacy route or are unsure about your next steps, it’s always a wise decision to consult with a guardian advocate lawyer like William C. Roof. We can provide the support, guidance, and knowledge necessary to navigate this important and often difficult journey.

Guardian Advocate FAQs

Most people, when they encounter the world of guardian advocacy, wind up filled with questions. Here are some frequently asked ones we can answer right now, but please reach out to William C. Roof to get answers tailored to your unique case:

What Is a Guardian Advocate in the State of Florida?

A guardian advocate is an individual appointed by the court to assist someone with developmental disabilities or mental illness in making certain decisions. Unlike traditional guardianship, the person is not declared incapacitated.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Legal Guardian in Florida?

Typically, after filing a petition, a guardianship hearing is set within 30 days. However, the duration to finalize the process can vary based on the specifics of your case.

What Are the Duties of a Guardian?

A guardian, whether full or as an advocate, is responsible for the well-being of the individual under their care. This includes making personal, medical, and financial decisions while ensuring the individual’s rights and autonomy are respected.

Connect with a Florida Guardian Advocate Attorney

Caring for a loved one with developmental disabilities or mental illness can be both rewarding and challenging. Ensuring their well-being, especially in legal matters, isn’t just important — it’s essential.


If you’re considering the route of guardian advocacy or have questions about the process, Florida guardian advocate attorney William C. Roof is here to guide you. Reach out today to ensure that your loved one’s rights, dignity, and well-being are safeguarded.


The contents of this article are not comprehensive, they provide only a general overview of the subject matter discussed. This article does not establish a client-attorney relationship with the reader, and no legal decisions should be made based on the article’s contents. Because every legal matter arises under unique facts specific to the client, no legal decision should be made without consulting a licensed attorney.

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