What is a preneed guardian?
A preneed guardian is the appointment of an individual(s) as guardian for oneself or for minor children that they are currently serving as guardian for. This form of guardianship is not effective immediately. If a preneed guardian is appointed for a competent adult individual, then the guardianship will not take effect unless the individual is incapacitated and otherwise unable to manage their own affairs. If a preneed guardian is appointed for minor children, then the guardianship is not effective until the current guardian is either incapacitated or dead. Florida Statute Section 744.3046 has more information for guardianship over a minor child.
Benefits of a preneed guardian include:
- Cost saving
- More of a hassle-free process for you and your loved ones since the decision has already been made
- Protection from unwanted guardians having control over you or your loved ones which would be decided by the court unless you do so
- Allowing you to choose alternative guardians
How to get a preneed guardian designated in Florida?
A person may draft an appointment of a preneed guardian in Florida by declaring in writing:
- Who they are (declarant)
- Who the guardianship will be over (oneself or one’s minor children)
- Who the guardian shall be as well as alternative guardians
Two attesting witnesses must be present at the time the declarant signs the document. The guardianship form must then be filed with the clerk of the court for the appropriate county of residence. Upon the time a petition for guardianship is due to be filed, the clerk of the court will produce the document implementing the preneed guardian previously designated.
Does the designated preneed guardian automatically become the guardian?
No. It is in your best interests to appoint a guardian who is qualified to serve in the role. If the court does not believe your chosen guardian to be qualified, they have the option to appoint a different one on your behalf. It is always a good idea to designate an alternate guardian in case the first choice declines to assume the responsibility, passes away, or is deemed unqualified by the court.
If I have children should I absolutely designate a preneed guardian in a separate document?
Not necessarily. If the other parent of your children is still living, then guardianship would remain with them. In a situation where you are a single parent, or if both of the children’s parents die simultaneously, some document appointing guardianship would be recommended to ensure your children are placed under the care of the individual or individuals you feel most comfortable. If you already drafted a will or trust that includes directions for appointment of a guardian for minor children, then a preneed guardian may not be necessary. If there are no documents that pertain to the guardianship of your minor children in the event of your incapacitation or death, then it is strongly encouraged to draft such a document for a preneed guardian at your earliest convenience.
If you need counsel or more information on the topic of preneed guardianship, please contact our law firm by calling us at (407) 636-4066, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the contact form HERE.