Section 744.1085, Florida Statutes 2003
744.1085 Regulation of professional guardians; application; bond required; educational requirements.--
(1) The provisions of this section are in addition to and supplemental to any other provision of the Florida Guardianship Law, except s. 744.3145.
(2) Each professional guardian who files a petition for appointment after October 1, 1997, shall post a blanket fiduciary bond with the clerk of the circuit court in the county in which the guardian's primary place of business is located. The guardian shall provide proof of the fiduciary bond to the clerks of each additional circuit court in which he or she is serving as a professional guardian. The bond shall be maintained by the guardian in an amount not less than $50,000. The bond must cover all wards for whom the guardian has been appointed at any given time. The liability of the provider of the bond is limited to the face amount of the bond, regardless of the number of wards for whom the professional guardian has been appointed. The act or omissions of each employee of a professional guardian who has direct contact with the ward or access to the ward's assets is covered by the terms of such bond. The bond must be payable to the Governor of the State of Florida and his or her successors in office and conditioned on the faithful performance of all duties by the guardian. In form, the bond must be joint and several. The bond is in addition to any bonds required under s. 744.351. This subsection does not apply to any attorney who is licensed to practice law in this state and who is in good standing, to any financial institution as defined in s. 744.309(4), or a public guardian. The expenses incurred to satisfy the bonding requirements prescribed in this section may not be paid with the assets of any ward.
(3) Each professional guardian defined in s. 744.102(15) and public guardian must receive a minimum of 40 hours of instruction and training. Each professional guardian must receive a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education every 2 calendar years after the year in which the initial 40-hour educational requirement is met. The instruction and education must be completed through a course approved or offered by the Statewide Public Guardianship Office. The expenses incurred to satisfy the educational requirements prescribed in this section may not be paid with the assets of any ward. This subsection does not apply to any attorney who is licensed to practice law in this state.
(4) Each professional guardian must allow, at the guardian's expense, an investigation of the guardian's credit history, and the credit history of employees of the guardian, in a manner prescribed by the Department of Elderly Affairs.
(5) As required in s. 744.3135, each professional guardian shall allow a level 2 background screening of the guardian and employees of the guardian in accordance with the provisions of s. 435.04.
(6) After July 1, 2005, each professional guardian shall be required to demonstrate competency to act as a professional guardian by taking an examination approved by the Department of Elderly Affairs.
(a) The Department of Elderly Affairs shall determine the minimum examination score necessary for passage of guardianship examinations.
(b) The Department of Elderly Affairs shall determine the procedure for administration of the examination.
(c) The Department of Elderly Affairs or its contractor shall charge an examination fee for the actual costs of the development and the administration of the examination, not to exceed $500.
(d) The Department of Elderly Affairs may recognize passage of a national guardianship examination in lieu of all or part of the examination approved by the Department of Elderly Affairs, except that all professional guardians must take and pass an approved examination section related to Florida law and procedure.
(7) The Department of Elderly Affairs shall set the minimum score necessary to demonstrate professional guardianship competency.
(8) The Department of Elderly Affairs shall waive the examination requirement in subsection (6) if a professional guardian can provide:
(a) Proof that the guardian has actively acted as a professional guardian for 5 years or more; and
(b) A letter from a circuit judge before whom the professional guardian practiced at least 1 year which states that the professional guardian had demonstrated to the court competency as a professional guardian.
(9) After July 1, 2004, the court shall not appoint any professional guardian who has not met the requirements of this section and s. 744.1083.
(10) This section does not apply to a professional guardian or the employees of that professional guardian when that guardian is a trust company, a state banking corporation, state savings association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in this state, or a national banking association or federal savings and loan association authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in this state.
History.--s. 1, ch. 97-161; s. 9, ch. 99-277; s. 9, ch. 2003-57.