After a person has been adjudicated to be incapacitated in a court proceeding (the incapacitated person is referred to as the “Ward”), generally a guardian is appointed to manage the Ward’s property. Family members who act as guardians must be very careful to manage the Ward’s property only for specific purposes. A guardian cannot make gifts of the Ward’s property without permission. A guardian cannot borrow the Ward’s money. Under Fla. Stat. §744.446(1)(a) and (d); a guardian cannot “have an interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect in any business transaction or activity with the guardianship” or “directly or indirectly purchase, rent lease or sell any property or services from or to any business entity of which the guardian or the guardian’s spouse or any of the guardian’s lineal descendants, or collateral kindred, is an officer, partner, director shareholder or proprietor, or has any financial interest.”
This is generally common sense. However, for some reason a family member acting as a guardian sometimes seems to believe he or she has the right to use the Ward’s property as the family member’s personal account. Guardians who do this can be removed, sued and may be committing a crime. Thus, if you are acting as guardian, generally you should understand exactly how you can and cannot use a Ward’s property. For more information contact Cody & Linde, PLLC today at 239.939.7100.