In re Guardianship of Jones

In re Guardianship of Jones, 243 So.3d 503 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2018)

This decision construes the language in F.S. 744.312 regarding the appointment of an emergency temporary guardian who is a professional guardian as the permanent guardian of a ward. The Court construed the language of the statute and the findings of fact in the trial court order, and found that the requirements had been met for this emergency temporary guardian to stay on as permanent guardian for the ward.

Specifically, F.S. 744.312(4)(b) provides as follows:

"An emergency temporary guardian who is a professional guardian may not be appointed as permanent guardian of a ward unless one of the next of kin of the alleged incapacitated person or the ward requests that the professional guardian be appointed as permanent guardian. The court may waive the limitations of this paragraph if the special requirements of the guardianship demand that the court appoint a guardian because he or she has special talent or specific prior experience. The court must make specific findings of fact that justify waiving the limitations of this paragraph."

In sum, a professional guardian who is serving as an emergency temporary guardian may stay on in one of two situations: (1) the ward or the ward's next of kin request they stay on, or (2) the court waives the limitations based on specific findings of fact regarding the special requirements of the guardianship. 

Here, both occurred. The ward told numerous witnesses that he wanted the emergency guardian to stay on. The court also made findings of fact about the emergency temporary guardian's special skill set and qualifications which made her specially equipped to deal with this specific ward. Thus, the Court affirmed the emergency temporary guardian's appointment as permanent guardian of the ward.

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