Florida Elder Protection: The Baker Act In Florida

guardianship.jpgAs a Florida Family Law Attorney, I am often asked what the family members of a mentally incompetent elder can do when he or she refuses to seek treatment. While Florida law encourages people with mental illnesses to seek treatment voluntarily, it also recognizes that some people with a mental illness may need to be involuntarily admitted for evaluation and treatment.

The Florida Mental Health Act (“Baker Act”) is the procedure for providing persons with emergency psychiatric services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment. A Baker Act in Florida is issued to mentally ill persons who are likely to suffer self-neglect or inflict harm to themselves or others.

For an involuntary Baker Act proceeding in Florida, a law enforcement officer may take persons who appear to be mentally ill and who likely pose a danger to themselves or others into custody and deliver them to the nearest receiving facility for examination. A receiving facility must ensure that a person receive services in the least restrictive setting and in the least intrusive manner. Under the Baker Act, a person may not be held for more than 72 hours.

The Florida Baker Act is located in Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes. If you have any questions concerning the Baker Act and/or issues regarding an Elder Guardianship in Florida, please contact a Florida Family Law Laywer today.

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