Marc J. Soss, Esq.

(941) 928-0310 |

Special Needs Attorney Sarasota

adult guardian advocate

A Florida Guardian advocate is an individual appointed by a written order of a Florida Probate Court to represent an individual with developmental disabilities under Florida Statute 393.12.

A probate court may appoint a guardian advocate, without adjudication of incapacity, for a person with developmental disabilities, if the person lacks the capacity to do some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to care for his or her person, property, or estate or if a person voluntarily petitions for the appointment of a guardian advocate.  Such an appointment is generally encouraged since it is a less restrictive form of guardianship. Any person with disabilities who is the subject of a petition for a guardian advocate must be represented by counsel and has the right to the representation of his or her choice.

Developmental Disability: Developmental disability means a disorder or syndrome which is attributable to retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, or Prader-Willi syndrome and that constitutes a substantial handicap that can reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely. 

Appointment of a Guardian Advocate: The process for appointing a guardian advocate begins with the filing of a petition. Requisite notice of such filing should be given to the individual and his or her parent(s). {F.S. 393.12(2) (c)} Upon filing, a hearing will be set to consider the petition where all applicable professional reports documenting the individual’s condition will be presented.  If the court determines that the appointment of a guardian advocate is necessary, it shall enter a written order that contains the relevant findings of facts and conclusions of law upon which the decision was based. Responsibilities A guardian advocate has the same powers, duties and responsibilities required of a guardian pursuant to Chapter 744 or those defined by court order pursuant to Florida Statutes section 393.12. {F.S. 393.12(2) (h)} The person for whom the guardian advocate has been appointed retains all other legal rights that have not been specifically designated to the guardian advocate. {F.S. 393.12(2) (g)}


The establishment of a Florida Guardianship for a minor, under the age of 18 years, is often the result of a family tragedy or accident. The Florida Guardianship proceedings will take place in minor’s county of residence.  The Florida Probate Court can grant legal authority over the child to someone other than the child’s parents, if their parents are unable to raise them or are deceased. The guardian must act in the best interest of the child’s welfare and financial well-being. All acts of the Florida Guardian will be subject to court oversight.

Who Can Petition for Guardianship of a Minor?

​Members of the minor's family or another person interested in the child’s welfare may petition to seek Florida Guardianship through the Florida Probate court. It is not unusual to have a grandparent, uncle or aunt petition for appointment. The person(s) appointed as the minor’s guardian can be for their person or property or both.

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