The Probate Division maintains the following court records:
Estates of deceased persons
Appointments of guardianships of certain minors and incapacitated persons and
All persons committed to mental institutions or mental health facilities involving mental disorders (known as Baker Acts cases), drugs, and alcohol abuse (known as Marchman Act cases).
For more information on Probate see FAQ's
For additional information, checklists, and forms; please visit the website for the 18th Judicial Circuit Courts, located under 'Related Links.'
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the courts in which a guardian is appointed by the court to exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated person. A guardian of the person makes decisions and takes action regarding the wellbeing of the incapacitated person. The guardian of the property is responsible for managing the property/assets of the incapacitated person.
Declaration of Pre-Need Guardianship - Florida Statute 744.3045
This document names the person that the filer wants to become his or her guardian in the event they become incapacitated or, in the event the filer dies, the person the filer wants to become guardian of his or her children. There is no filing fee for the document.
A Petition for Conservatorship may be filed with the court, if a person is missing and presumed dead, in order that the court appoint a conservator to safeguard the property of the absent person.
This is a procedure that provides for a guardian to be appointed for a person who has been determined by the court to be incapacitated.
Incapacity - Fla. St. 744.3201 A Petition to Determine Incapacity may be filed when it is necessary that the Court determine whether an adult person lacks the capacity to manage at least some of his/her property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements to care for his/her person. A Petition to Determine Incapacity may be executed by an adult person. Once the petition is filed, an examining committee is appointed and an attorney is appointed to represent the alleged Incapacitated Person. The Examining Committee must be composed of a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist or Gerontologist and a Layperson. The Examining Committee files a written report. The hearing is usually set within 14 days of the filing of the petition.
Guardianship of a Minor - Florida Statute 744.342
The law requires that a guardian of the property be appointed when a minor receives or inherits assets of $15,000 or more. A guardian of the person of a minor may be appointed by the court if the natural parents are unavailable or unable to provide for the minor's well being.
This procedure is limited to veterans and other persons who are entitled to receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Voluntary Guardianship - Florida Statute 744.341
When voluntarily petitioned by a person who, though mentally competent, is incapable of managing their assets by reason of age or physical infirmity, the court may appoint a guardian of the property.
The court, prior to appointment of a guardian but after a petition for determination of incapacity has been filed, may appoint an emergency temporary guardian for the person or property or both of an alleged incapacitated person. The authority of an emergency temporary guardian expires 60 days after the appointment, but may be extended for an additional 30 days upon a showing that the emergency conditions still exist.