Governor DeSantis Signs New Florida Guardianship Bill Into Law
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed 21 new bills into law, which included House Bill 709/Senate Bill 994, which amended some of the state’s guardianship laws.
Under the new legislation, seniors have additional protections while in the care of a guardian. The bill also contains changes to guardian oversight and reporting requirements.
Changes to Florida guardianship
Florida’s guardianship system has long been the subject of criticism, and over the last couple years there have been repeated efforts to overhaul it. This most recent legislation would accomplish the following:
- Require all courts to grant permission for guardians to sign “do not resuscitate” orders rather than allowing them to seek these orders without court permission
- Prevent guardians from petitioning the court to be appointed to a case unless they are related to the person who needs care
- Require guardians report all details regarding payments and related information
There are also expanded reporting requirements under the new law, and other measures intended to create greater oversight of guardians in the state.
These changes were inspired in part by a 2019 case in which the death of a man in care of a guardian prompted an investigation that led to the arrest of that court-appointed guardian, Rebecca Fierle. She remains under investigation, along with other guardians in the state, and is currently being held awaiting trial on two felony charges related to the death. Fierle filed a do not resuscitate order against the wishes of Steven Stryker and his family and ordered his feeding tube to be capped, which was contrary to physician advice.
For more information about the changes to Florida guardianship rules and how they might affect estate planning, contact an experienced Tampa, FL estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.