2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XLIII DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 744 GUARDIANSHIP
SECTION 309Who may be appointed guardian of a resident ward.
744.309 Who may be appointed guardian of a resident ward.—
(a) Any resident of this state who is sui juris and is 18 years of age or older is qualified to act as guardian of a ward.
(b) No judge shall act as guardian after this law becomes effective, except when he or she is related to the ward by blood, marriage, or adoption, or has maintained a close relationship with the ward or the ward’s family, and serves without compensation.
(2) NONRESIDENT.—A nonresident of the state may serve as guardian of a resident ward if he or she is:
(a) Related by lineal consanguinity to the ward;
(b) A legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the ward;
(c) A spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the ward, or someone related by lineal consanguinity to any such person; or
(d) The spouse of a person otherwise qualified under this section.
(3) DISQUALIFIED PERSONS.—No person who has been convicted of a felony or who, from any incapacity or illness, is incapable of discharging the duties of a guardian, or who is otherwise unsuitable to perform the duties of a guardian, shall be appointed to act as guardian. Further, no person who has been judicially determined to have committed abuse, abandonment, or neglect against a child as defined in s. 39.01 or s. 984.03(1), (2), and (37), or who has been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense prohibited under s. 435.04 or similar statute of another jurisdiction, shall be appointed to act as a guardian. Except as provided in subsection (5) or subsection (6), a person who provides substantial services to the proposed ward in a professional or business capacity, or a creditor of the proposed ward, may not be appointed guardian and retain that previous professional or business relationship. A person may not be appointed a guardian if he or she is in the employ of any person, agency, government, or corporation that provides service to the proposed ward in a professional or business capacity, except that a person so employed may be appointed if he or she is the spouse, adult child, parent, or sibling of the proposed ward or the court determines that the potential conflict of interest is insubstantial and that the appointment would clearly be in the proposed ward’s best interest. The court may not appoint a guardian in any other circumstance in which a conflict of interest may occur.
(4) TRUST COMPANY, STATE BANK OR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION, OR NATIONAL BANK OR FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION.—A trust company, a state banking corporation or state savings association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in this state, or a national banking association or federal savings and loan association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in this state may act as guardian of the property of the ward.
(5) NONPROFIT CORPORATE GUARDIAN.—A nonprofit corporation organized for religious or charitable purposes and existing under the laws of this state may be appointed guardian for a ward. If the nonprofit corporate guardian charges fees against the assets or property of the ward for its services, the corporation must employ at least one professional guardian.
(6) HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.—A provider of health care services to the ward, whether direct or indirect, may not be appointed the guardian of the ward, unless the court specifically finds that there is no conflict of interest with the ward’s best interests.
(7) FOR-PROFIT CORPORATE GUARDIAN.—A for-profit corporate guardian existing under the laws of this state is qualified to act as guardian of a ward if the entity is qualified to do business in the state, is wholly owned by the person who is the circuit’s public guardian in the circuit where the corporate guardian is appointed, has met the registration requirements of s. 744.2002, and posts and maintains a bond or insurance policy under paragraph (a).
(a) The for-profit corporate guardian must meet one of the following requirements:
1. Post and maintain a blanket fiduciary bond of at least $250,000 with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the corporate guardian has its principal place of business. The corporate guardian shall provide proof of the fiduciary bond to the clerks of each additional circuit court in which he or she is serving as a guardian. The bond must cover all wards for whom the corporation has been appointed as a guardian at any given time. The liability of the provider of the bond is limited to the face value of the bond, regardless of the number of wards for whom the corporation is acting as a guardian. The terms of the bond must cover the acts or omissions of each agent or employee of the corporation who has direct contact with the ward or access to the assets of the guardianship. The bond must be payable to the Governor and his or her successors in office and be conditioned on the faithful performance of all duties of a guardian under this chapter. The bond is in lieu of and not in addition to the bond required under s. 744.2003 but is in addition to any bonds required under s. 744.351. The expenses incurred to satisfy the bonding requirements of this section may not be paid with the assets of any ward; or
2. Maintain a liability insurance policy that covers any losses sustained by the guardianship caused by errors, omissions, or any intentional misconduct committed by the corporation’s officers or agents. The policy must cover all wards for whom the corporation is acting as a guardian for losses up to $250,000. The terms of the policy must cover acts or omissions of each agent or employee of the corporation who has direct contact with the ward or access to the assets of the guardianship. The corporate guardian shall provide proof of the policy to the clerk of each circuit court in which he or she is serving as a guardian.
(b) A for-profit corporation appointed as guardian before July 1, 2015, is also qualified to serve as a guardian in the particular guardianships in which the corporation has already been appointed as guardian.
History.—s. 1, ch. 74-106; s. 8, ch. 75-222; s. 4, ch. 79-221; s. 7, ch. 81-27; s. 2, ch. 83-139; s. 26, ch. 89-96; s. 14, ch. 90-271; s. 1, ch. 96-184; s. 5, ch. 96-354; s. 1781, ch. 97-102; s. 48, ch. 98-280; s. 159, ch. 98-403; s. 8, ch. 2000-135; s. 110, ch. 2000-349; s. 4, ch. 2002-195; s. 31, ch. 2004-267; s. 53, ch. 2010-114; s. 7, ch. 2015-83; s. 36, ch. 2016-40.
Note.—Created from former s. 744.27.