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The Florida Statutes

The 2020 Florida Statutes

Title XLIII
DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 747
CONSERVATORSHIP
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CHAPTER 747
CHAPTER 747
CONSERVATORSHIP
747.01 Who are absentees under this law.
747.011 Absentee incompetent for certain purposes.
747.02 Jurisdiction.
747.03 Petition.
747.031 Notice; hearing.
747.032 Order of appointment.
747.033 Oath.
747.034 Bond.
747.035 Rights, powers, and duties of conservator.
747.036 Resignation or removal of conservator.
747.04 Termination of conservatorship.
747.051 Summary procedure.
747.052 Procedure for order authorizing action by spouse or next of kin.
747.01 Who are absentees under this law.
(1) Any person serving in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, in or with the Red Cross, in or with the Merchant Marine or otherwise, during any period of time when a state of hostilities exists between the United States and any other power and for 1 year thereafter, who has been reported or listed as missing in action, interned in a neutral country, beleaguered, besieged or captured by the enemy, shall be an “absentee” within the meaning of this law; and,
(2) Any resident of this state, or any person owning property herein, who disappears under circumstances indicating that he or she may have died, either naturally, accidentally or at the hand of another, or may have disappeared as the result of mental derangement, amnesia or other mental cause, shall also be an “absentee” within the meaning of this law.
History.s. 1, ch. 22888, 1945; s. 1, ch. 67-458; s. 1129, ch. 97-102.
747.011 Absentee incompetent for certain purposes.An “absentee” as defined in s. 747.01 is considered incompetent for the purposes of s. 4, Art. X of the State Constitution.
History.s. 1, ch. 71-103.
747.02 Jurisdiction.The circuit court has jurisdiction to appoint a conservator of the estate of an absentee as defined in s. 747.01 upon a showing that:
(1)(a)1. The absentee has an interest in any form of property in this state; or
2. The absentee is a legal resident of this state; or
3. The spouse or next of kin of the absentee is a legal resident of this state; and
(b) The absentee has not provided an adequate power of attorney authorizing another to act in his or her behalf with regard to such property or interest or the term of any such power of attorney has expired; and
(2) A necessity exists for providing care for the property or estate of the absentee or care for or judgments concerning the absentee’s spouse and children or, if he or she has no spouse and children, the absentee’s mother or father.
History.s. 2, ch. 22888, 1945; s. 2, ch. 71-103; s. 1130, ch. 97-102.
747.03 Petition.
(1) The jurisdiction of the court shall be invoked by the filing of a petition by any person who would have an interest in the property or estate of the absentee were such absentee deceased or any person who is dependent on said absentee for his or her maintenance or support.
(2) The petition shall be sworn to by the petitioner and shall state:
(a) The names, addresses, and ages of the spouse, children, mother, father, brothers, and sisters, or, if none of these is living, the next of kin, of the absentee;
(b) The name, address, and age of any other person who would have an interest in the property or the estate of the absentee if he or she were deceased;
(c) The exact circumstances which cause the person missing to be an absentee under s. 747.01 including the date he or she was first known to be missing, interned, beleaguered, etc.;
(d) The necessity for establishing a conservatorship;
(e) Whether or not the person alleged to be an absentee has a will and the whereabouts of said will; and
(f) A statement of all property constituting an asset of the alleged absentee’s estate or in which he or she has any interest and the approximate value of same.
History.s. 3, ch. 22888, 1945; s. 5, ch. 71-103; s. 1131, ch. 97-102.
747.031 Notice; hearing.
(1) Notice of the hearing on the petition to appoint a conservator shall be given to all persons named in the petition by registered mail or certified mail with return receipt requested.
(2) The judge shall hear evidence on the question of whether the person alleged to be missing, interned, beleaguered, etc., is an absentee as defined by s. 747.01 and on the question of who is entitled to appointment as conservator. Any person interested in such proceedings may intervene with leave of the court.
(3) The court may in its discretion appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the alleged absentee at the hearing.
History.s. 6, ch. 71-103.
747.032 Order of appointment.
(1) If, after hearing, the court is satisfied that the person alleged to be an absentee is an absentee as defined in s. 747.01 and that it is necessary that a conservatorship be established, she or he shall appoint a conservator of the estate and property of said absentee to take charge of the absentee’s estate and property under the supervision, and subject to the further orders, of the court.
(2) In the appointment of a conservator, the court shall give due consideration to the appointment of one of the next of kin of the absentee if such next of kin is a fit and proper person and is qualified to act.
History.s. 7, ch. 71-103; s. 1132, ch. 97-102.
747.033 Oath.Every conservator, before exercising his or her authority as conservator, shall take oath that he or she will faithfully perform his or her duties as conservator and will render true accounts whenever required according to law, which oath may be administered by any officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of this state. Such oath shall be filed with the court.
History.s. 8, ch. 71-103; s. 1133, ch. 97-102.
747.034 Bond.The court may require the conservator to post a bond as required for a guardian under 1ss. 744.38 and 744.39. All provisions of chapter 744 which are applicable to bonds are applicable to the bond of the conservator required under this chapter.
History.s. 9, ch. 71-103.
1Note.Repealed by s. 3, ch. 74-106.
747.035 Rights, powers, and duties of conservator.
(1) The conservator shall have all the rights, powers, and duties of a guardian of the property as established in chapter 744 and an absentee and an absentee’s dependents shall be entitled to all benefits accruing to a ward or a ward’s dependents under said chapter.
(2) The circuit court shall have the same responsibility as to a conservatorship as it has with respect to the guardianship of the property under said chapter.
History.s. 10, ch. 71-103; s. 32, ch. 73-334; s. 70, ch. 95-211.
747.036 Resignation or removal of conservator.The provision for resignation and removal of a guardian of the property in 1chapter 746 shall apply in the circuit court to resignation and removal of a conservator.
History.s. 11, ch. 71-103.
1Note.All sections in chapter 746 were repealed by s. 3, ch. 74-106.
747.04 Termination of conservatorship.
(1) At any time upon petition signed by the absentee, or on petition of an attorney in fact acting under an adequate power of attorney granted by the absentee, the court shall direct the termination of the conservatorship and the transfer of all property held thereunder to the absentee or to the designated attorney in fact.
(2) Likewise, if at any time subsequent to the appointment of a conservator it shall appear that the absentee has died and an executor or administrator has been appointed for her or his estate, the court shall direct the termination of the conservatorship and the transfer of all property of the deceased absentee held thereunder to such executor or administrator.
(3) When the need for a conservatorship terminates, the conservator shall promptly file her or his final returns and application for discharge with the court. If it appears to the court that the returns are correct and that the conservator has made full and complete transfer of the absentee’s assets as directed, the court may approve the returns and discharge the conservator. If objections to the returns are filed, the circuit judge shall conduct a hearing under the same conditions for a hearing on objections to annual returns.
(4) Such discharge shall operate as a release from the duties of the conservatorship and as a bar to any suit against said conservator or her or his surety, unless such suit is commenced within 1 year from the date of discharge.
History.s. 4, ch. 22888, 1945; s. 12, ch. 71-103; s. 1134, ch. 97-102.
747.051 Summary procedure.
(1) If the wife of any person defined as an absentee in s. 747.01(1), or his next of kin if said absentee has no wife, shall wish to sell or transfer any property of the absentee which has a gross value of less than $5,000, or shall require the consent of the absentee in any matter regarding the absentee’s children or in any other matter in which the gross value of the subject matter is less than $5,000, she may apply to the circuit court for an order authorizing said sale, transfer, or consent without opening a full conservatorship proceeding as provided by this chapter. She may make the application without the assistance of an attorney. Said application shall be made by petition on the following form, which form shall be made readily available to the applicant by the clerk of the circuit court:

In the Circuit Court

In re:   (Absentee)  , case number  .

PETITION FOR SUMMARY RELIEF

Petitioner,   (Name)  , whose residence is   (Street & number)  ,   (City or town)  , and   (County)  , Florida, and who is the   (Describe relationship to absentee)   of the absentee,   (Name)  , states that the absentee has been   (Imprisoned or missing in action)   since   (Date)   when   (Describe details)  . Petitioner desires to sell/transfer   (Describe property)   of the value of   (Value)   because   (Give reasons)  . The terms of sale/transfer are   (Give reasons)  . Petitioner requires the consent of the absentee for the purpose of  .

  (Petitioner)  

State of Florida

County of 

Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this   day of   ,   (year)  , by   (name of person making statement)  .

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

Personally Known    OR Produced Identification  

Type of Identification Produced 

(2) The court shall, without hearing or notice, enter an order on said petition if it deems the relief requested in said petition necessary to protect the best interests of the absentee or her or his dependents.
(3) Such order shall be prima facie evidence of the validity of the proceedings and the authority of the petitioner to make a conveyance or transfer of the property or to give the absentee’s consent in any matter prescribed by subsection (1).
History.s. 3, ch. 71-103; s. 32, ch. 73-334; s. 1135, ch. 97-102; s. 19, ch. 98-246.
747.052 Procedure for order authorizing action by spouse or next of kin.
(1) If the spouse, or the next of kin if there is no spouse, of any person defined as an absentee under s. 747.01(1), shall wish to sell, lease, or mortgage specific property having a gross value of $5,000 or more owned by the absentee or in which the absentee had an interest, or take specific action with respect to the absentee’s interest having a gross value of $5,000 or more, he or she may petition the circuit court for an order authorizing the action with respect to such property or interest.
(2) The petition shall be sworn to by the petitioner and shall state:
(a) The names, addresses, and ages of the spouse, children, mother, father, brothers, and sisters, or, if none of these is living, the next of kin, of the absentee;
(b) The name, address, and age of any other person who would have an interest in the property or the estate of the absentee if she or he were deceased;
(c) The exact circumstances which cause the person missing to be an absentee under s. 747.01, including the date she or he was first known to be missing, interned, beleaguered, etc.;
(d) The reasons for the action for which the petition seeks authorization;
(e) Whether or not the person alleged to be an absentee has a will and the whereabouts of said will and contents if known; and
(f) A statement of all property constituting an asset of the alleged absentee’s estate or in which she or he has any interest and the approximate value of same.
(3) Notice of the hearing on the petition shall be given to all persons named in the petition by registered mail or certified mail with return receipt requested.
(4) The judge shall hear evidence on the question of whether the person alleged to be missing, interned, beleaguered, etc., is an absentee as defined by s. 747.01 and on the question of whether the action in question should be authorized. Any person interested in such proceedings may intervene with leave of the court.
(5) The court may in its discretion appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the alleged absentee at the hearing.
(6) If, after hearing, the court is satisfied that the person alleged to be an absentee is an absentee as defined in s. 747.01, that the action in question should be authorized, and that there is no necessity for a full conservatorship as provided by s. 747.03, the court shall enter an order appointing the petitioner as conservator for the purposes of the action which is the subject of the petition and authorizing the conservator to take the action requested in the petition. The court shall require the conservator to account for the proceeds of the sale, lease, or other action, but the conservator shall not be required to subject the other property of the absentee to a conservatorship proceeding. The court may retain jurisdiction of the proceeding to make such further orders as it deems proper.
History.s. 4, ch. 71-103; s. 1136, ch. 97-102.