What tests do I need to pass before I can become my child's guardian?
Are there any special requirements or skills or test to pass to become the guardian of an adult child with an disability?
Special needs dad, John S. recently asked me this question:
What tests do I need to pass before I can become someone's guardian?
This a question that is frequently asked by parents, especially if you've ever taken a glance at the Guardian Advocate Application Forms.
The Guardian Advocate Application Form Would Make You Think So...
In particular, Question 27 of the Guardianship Application asks whether you possess any special educational qualifications (financial, business or otherwise) that uniquely qualifies you to be appointed as guardian advocate.
Additionally, Question 28 asks:
28. Has applicant received instruction and training which covered the legal duties and responsibilities of guardian/guardian advocate, the rights of an incapacitated person or Ward, the availability of local resources to aid a Ward, and the preparation of habitual plans and annual guardian advocate reports, including financial accounting for the ward’s property? if you
To the casual observer, you would think that court is looking for candidates who have special training (or pass a test) before you can become a guardian.
But No Test is Required to Become Guardian
The reality is, for parent and caretaker applicants, having been the primary caretaker of a child with a disability is sufficient to make you qualified to become your child's guardian.
The training and other requirements apply more to "professional" guardians. For example, a person appointed by the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and paid, to be a person's guardian who has no family available.
Other Things Can Prevent You From Becoming Guardian
While not having specialized training will not automatically prevent you from becoming your child's guardian, certain other things will. For example, people who have been convicted of a felony or some other act of violence cannot serve as a guardian in Florida.
Notwithstanding, once you are appointed as your child's guardian, you have four (4) months to complete guardianship training. But you can't just take any training class. Each judicial district in Florida has their own, court approved training course.
In our Ultimate Florida Guardianship Checklist, we include a link to a list we created of every court approved course in Florida.
Once you complete the guardianship training course, you are responsible for filing a notice with the court to let them know you met your obligation. Failing to do this could result in the court finding you to be in contempt, or simply dismissing your case, which means your guardianship would be revoked, and you'd have to start the whole process over from scratch.