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Guardianship & Other Legal Information

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Guardianship is a hot topic. Those without guardianship want to know, how can I get a guardian. Those with guardianship, are often asking, how can I get rid of my guardian? Guardianship is almost always expensive, and sometimes a less restrictive means can accomplish the same goal. Some guardians abuse their power.

At the end of this page, you will also find links to get ID Cards, Birth Certificates, and Public Records.

Guardianship, Birth Certificates, ID Cards, Public Records, and More..

Please write to WaiverInfo@aol.com if you know of any other resources.

The ARC of Jacksonville - Pooled Trust

The Arc Pooled Trust

The Arc Jacksonville Pooled Trust is a Special Needs Trust for persons with disabilities. The Arc Jacksonville, Inc. serves as the non-profit trustee of the Trust.

What is a Pooled Trust?

The Arc Jacksonville Special Needs Trust is a “Pooled Trust” fund created to manage funds for supplemental needs during a beneficiary’s entire life. A beneficiary can receive funds from such a trust without compromising public support such as Medicaid, Medicaid Waivers, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain other benefits available through the state of Florida. Thus, individuals with disabilities who receive an inheritance that would jeopardize benefits can deposit the money in a pooled trust and not lose the benefits.

What does “Pooled” refer to?

Funds from individuals or interested parties are “pooled,” or combined, to meet standard requirements (usually $250,000 or more) for a professionally managed trust account. Even though the funds are “pooled,” each beneficiary will have a separate account consisting of his or her assets.

The income from the trust is used only to provide “supplemental needs,” rather than basic needs, such as housing and food.  Supplemental needs can include costs of hobbies, vacations, recreational activities, as well as extra training in vocational and independent living skills.

Once a trust account is established, family members or other interested parties will make written requests for disbursements from the Trust.  Disbursements are made on behalf of the beneficiary directly to a vendor.  For example, if the beneficiary wants to buy a bicycle, the check is made out to the bicycle shop.

For more information about The Arc Jacksonville Special Needs Pooled Trust and the services please contact 904.358.1200 or email pooledtrust@arcjacksonville.org

Download the Pooled Trust Brochure

  Planning Is Crucial: Why You Need To Be On Top of Wills, Trusts, and Guardianship.

You can also visit our website at http://www.arcjacksonville.org/the-arc-pooled-trust

 

Options for Decision-making Assistance

"Options for Decision-making Assistance"- Yes it's a mouthful, BUT there are various ways to provide people with decision making assistance! In fact, guardianship is the most restrictive, most overused and usually the most expensive. Learn More about your options.

 
Guardianship-

In Florida, a person that is 18 years old or older is considered to be competent and have all their legal rights, until a court determines otherwise.  Even if the person has very limited abilities and has a history of making poor choices, they are still legally able to make all decisions for themselves.  Only  a court can take away a person's right. 

What does this all mean? On the positive side, it means that all people have certain rights, and those rights are very difficult to take away.  People can live meaningful lives and make their own choices.  On the downside,it means that people who are incompetent, but have not yet been determined to be so by the courts, can get married, move to New York, or buy a car.  It means that the parents can not do anything legally to stop their adult child from making bad decisions- that is, until guardianship is established. 

Learn about the many types of guardianship in Florida, and what they mean.  Find short definitions on Guardianship of Person, Guardianship of Property, Guardianship of Person and Property, Plenary (total) Guardianship, Partial Guardianship, and Guardianship Advocacy. 

Guardianship can take away all rights, or only a few, depending on the decision of the court. 

Guardianship - A Question With No (Cheap) Answers.

We sent the following question out to many lawyers in Florida, "How can I help someone who has no money get guardianship?  Is it possible to do it without a lawyer? ". Many of the responses we got back were less than kind.

Top Three Answers:

1.)  Lawyer from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

It is almost impossible to do a guardianship without a lawyer, as the rules are complex and the courts fairly unforgiving.  This is a common problem, that the government really needs to address.

2.)  Lawyer from St. Petersburg, Florida

No, you need a lawyer. 

3.)  Lawyer from Coral Springs, Florida (BEST ANSWER)

Guardianships are complex and time-consuming, and hence very expensive to establish. By Statute, the Client MUST have a Florida Attorney do the work. Legal Aid, The Advocacy Center For Persons With Disabilities, various disabilities organizations and the Florida Bar may have referrals to Attorneys who undertake Guardianships at low or no cost.

 There is a procedure for the Court to waive any State-mandated fees due to indigency (living in poverty, broke). The Guardianship Attorney must file the proper Petitions to do so as part of the process.

 A Plenary (full) Guardianship removes ALL rights from the incapacitated person, thus leaving the Guardian in TOTAL control. Limited (partial) Guardianships remove only those rights specified in the Petition. A Guardian Advocacy is often used in cases of less-severe developmental disabilities as a simplified procedure to grant the Guardian Advocate the right to act on behalf of the disabled person in specific, limited ways.

Same Question (Guardianship) asked to MyFlorida.com

Thank you for contacting the State Library of Florida. Guardianship would be determined by a court, so you may want to contact the family section of your county court for information on filing. A list of Florida county courts with contact information is available here. For information on the subject, you may want to ask at your local library for the book Florida guardianship law and procedure by David C. Brennan. You may need to consult an attorney. Please see this web page from the Florida State Courts for links to legal aid for civil matters throughout Florida. The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals to attorneys who will conduct an initial one-half hour office consultation for no more than $25. For assistance in finding an attorney, visit the Florida Bar's public information website - Scroll down the page and click on "Lawyer Referral Service". You can also call the Lawyer Referral Service toll-free at 1-800-342-8011. I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for your inquiry.

Reference State Library of Florida A Division of the Florida Department of State Phone 850-245-6600

Learn more about guardianship

This is the Pasco County Florida's Guardianship web page.

Florida Legal Aid

Florida Legal Aid provides FREE or low cost legal services to persons with low incomes. 

*** Some we have spoken with, tell us not to expect too much from legal aid.

Directory of Legal Services Providers

There is also a directory of Legal Service Providers in Florida.  Many of these law offices are non-profit.  They often provide free legal advice and services to low income, eligible clients.

Need a Birth Certificate?
ID Cards

At Florida's DMV web page you can change your driver's license address online for only $10.00.

Find out how to get a driver's license or a state ID card.  To get an ID card, you will need an original birth certificate and one other form of identification, such as a social security card.

If you have a Florida driver's license or ID card, you have the option of attaching emergency contact information directly to your identification card. 

Public Records

Find out just about anything about anyone- for free.  Is their a sex offender living on your block?  Does your daughter's boyfriend have a criminal record?  Spend some time here, and you might learn a lot about your friends.