I received a call from a client. She was appointed the guardian of her husband. But a few days later she received an Order Appointing a Court Monitor. She asked, how does this affect my authority? Guardians should realize that the Court’s main objective is the best interest of the Ward. A person who has been determined incapacitated has lost basic rights and is vulnerable to abuse, neglect or exploitation. Unfortunately, even a court appointed Guardian can be found guilty of abuse of a Ward. In an effort to protect the Ward, Florida Statute provides the court authority to appoint a court monitor. Florida Statute 744.107(1) provides that “The court shall not appoint as a monitor a family member or any personal with a personal interest in the proceedings.” By appointing a neutral party, the court is assured that the person will not have any conflict of interest. The Statute awards the court monitor the following authority per 744.107(2), “The monitor may investigate, seek information, examine documents, or interview the ward and shall report to the court his or her findings. The report shall be verified and shall be served on the guardian, the ward, and such other persons as the court may determine.” The Court can use these reports to determine if any action is necessary to protect the Ward or interests. If the Court finds that action is needed, a hearing will be scheduled and all parties will be noticed. As you will see, the Monitor is not appointed to take authority or share authority with the Guardian. But is there to protect the Ward, which is what all parties involved want.
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