Examples of State Laws on Guardianship

Florida: Under Florida law, the guardianship should be of the least restrictive form. The legislative intent is to allow incapacitated individuals to live and function as independently as possible. The statute encourages such individuals to develop living skills to the extent possible so that they can vote, legally marry, enter into contracts, obtain driver’s license, etc.

Massachusetts: Under Massachusetts law, the court can appoint a guardian for a minor under 14 years of age. Minors over 14 can inform the court of their preference in the selection of the guardian. The court will consider the preference of the minor but if the minor’s preference is found inappropriate, the court will appoint another person. A guardian appointed for a mentally ill individual cannot commit the person to a mental institution or agree to antipsychotic medications being administered to the person unless the court determines that it is in the interest of the person and then authorizes the act. Parents can appoint testamentary guardians even if the child was not born at the time the instrument appointing the guardian is signed.

New Hampshire: Under New Hampshire law, a minor’s guardian must protect and preserve the properties (real and personal) and assets of the minor and any income from such properties including the sale of such properties. The guardian can with the consent of the court create a trust and transfer the minor’s assets to the trust. The trust must end by the 25th birthday of the minor.

South Carolina: Under South Carolina law, the parents of an incapacitated individual (spouse if the individual is married) can appoint a testamentary guardian for that person in their will. For such an appointment to become effective, the incapacitated person and the person currently providing care or the nearest adult relative is given a 20 day written notice and the appointed guardian accepts the appointment by filing the relevant papers in the court. If both spouse and a parent appoint testamentary guardians, the guardian appointed by the spouse will be given priority.

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