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Guardianship

A guardian has those rights and powers reasonably necessary to provide adequately for the support, care, education, health and welfare of the ward.  A guardian is much like a parent of a child who has both the authority and the responsibility of making decisions for the child.  This may mean that a guardian must make decisions which are considered to be in the ward's best interest even if the ward voices an objection, much like a parent requiring a child to attend school or receive medical treatment.  it is the guardian's duty to encourage the ward to develop maximum self-reliance and independence, to encourage the ward to participate in decisions and act on the ward's own behalf, and to develop or regain the capacity to manage the ward's personal affairs.

 
A guardian is entitled to physical custody of the ward and may establish the ward's place of dwelling, consistent with the terms of any restrictions or directions from the Court.  A guardian should be friendly, courteous and tactful toward the ward at all times.  The Court's order may limit or remove from the ward certain rights or may reserve to the ward certain rights, and the authority of the guardian will be governed by the Court's order and Georgia law.  Unless otherwise directed by the Court, the guardian will succeed to the rights removed from the ward, except that a guardian may not exercise the right to vote if removed from the ward, and a guardian is without authority to execute a will, power of attorney, or durable power of attorney for health care for the ward.  The mere appointment of a guardian does not revoke an existing durable power of attorney for health care, which remains in full force and effect unless the Court's order revokes the authority and the power, and the mere appointment of a guardian does not remove from the ward the right to vote or the capacity to make a valid will.

Court Reporting:
Guardians are required to file reports annually with the Court which disclose the status, condition, needs and circumstances of the ward.  The Personal Status Report (PSR) informs the Court where the ward is located, how the ward is doing generally, how the ward's needs are being met, and whether there has been any change in the condition or status of the ward which might warrant the Court's intervention or change in the guardianship order.

Termination of Guardianship:
A guardianship automatically terminates on the death of the ward and may be terminated by earlier Court order.  A person may also petition to resign as guardian.  Upon termination or resignation, the guardian must deliver any money or property in the hands of the guardian to the ward's conservator, if any, to the ward, or to the personal representative of a deceased ward's estate.

Conservatorship

A conservator is a fiduciary entrusted with the management of the funds and property of another, much like a trustee.  Except as otherwise provided by law or by the Court's order, a conservator shall receive, collect, and make decisions regarding the ward's property.  A conservator shall, to the extent feasible, encourage the ward to participate in making decisions and shall consider the expressed desires and personal values of the ward which are known to the conservator.  A conservator shall at all times act in the ward's best interest and exercise reasonable care, diligence, and prudence.  The mere appointment of a conservator does not remove from the ward the right to vote or the capacity to make a valid will.

 
Court Reporting:
Conservators are required to file with the Court, within 2 months from the date of appointment, an Inventory of the ward's property and a plan for managing, expending, and distributing the property of the ward.  The Inventory must describe all the assets and liabilities of the ward, list all the personal and real property owned by the ward, and describe how all property is titled.  The Inventory should set forth the reasonable, current value of all assets owned by the ward.  The Asset Management Plan must be based on the actual needs of the ward and take into consideration the best interest of the ward.  The plan should include an estimate of the duration of the conservatorship, projections for expenses and resources, any proposed changes in title to assets in the conservatorship estate, and a proposed budget for the expenditure of funds.

Conservators are also required to file returns annually with the Court within 60 days of the anniversary date of appointment.  The return shall consist of a statement of the receipts and expenditures of the conservatorship during the preceding year, an updated Inventory and Asset Management Plan, a statement of any fact necessary to show the true condition of the estate.

Termination of Conservatorship:
A conservatorship automatically terminates on the death of the ward and may be terminated earlier by Court order.  A conservator may also petition the Court to resign as conservator.  Upon the termination or resignation, the conservator must deliver any money or property in the hands of the conservator to the successor conservator, to the former ward, if restored to capacity, or to the personal representative of a deceased ward's estate.  Upon termination or resignation, a conservator may petition the Court for an order dismissing the conservator from office only, or proceedings for final settlement of the conservator's accounts and discharge from office and all liability may be filed.

Leave to Sell:
Except as specifically authorized by law, a conservator does NOT have authority to sell, convey, transfer, mortgage, pledge, give away or otherwise dispose of property of the ward without authority by an order from the Court.  The authority to sell, rent, lease, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property of the ward must be obtained by the filing of a petition with the Court.  Depending upon the property or the circumstances, a conservator may seek leave to sell property at a public sale or a private sale.  Conservators may be authorized by the Court to sell perishable items, property which depreciates rapidly, or property which is overly burdensome to maintain more quickly than more durable assets.

Leave to Encroach:
Conservators are authorized to make disbursements from the current, annual income of the ward for the support, care, education, health, and welfare of the ward and those persons who are entitled to be supported by the ward.  Conservators may not expend any portion of the principal or corpus of a ward's estate without specific authority from the Court.  Such authority may be sought in the original petition to the Court; thereafter, such authority may be sought by the filing of a petition for leave to encroach.  When such authority is requested for a single or one-time purchase or purpose, the petition must fully explain the need and the amount requested.

Emergency Guardianship

Guardianship can be created on an emergency basis if there is an immediate, clear, and substantial risk of death, serious injury, illness, disease, or irreparable waste or dissipation of the person's assets.

Fees

The fees for any guardianship proceeding must be paid upon filing the petition with the Probate Court.  The Probate Court accepts cash, money orders, personal checks, MasterCard and Visa debit/credit cards (card processing fee will apply).

 

  • Petition for the Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator for a Proposed Ward - $631.00 
    • Petition Filing Fee - $175.50
    • Petition Recording Fee: $30.00
    • Attorney Appointment Fee: $125.00
    • Guardian Ad Litem Appointment Fee: $125.00
    • Physician Evaluation Fee: $125.00
    • Sheriff's Service Fee: $50.00
    • Postage Fees: $0.50
  • Petition for the Appointment of an Emergency Guardian and/or Conservator for a Proposed Ward - $631.00
    • Petition Filing Fee - $175.50
    • Petition Recording Fee: $30.00
    • Attorney Appointmet Fee: $125.00
    • Guardian Ad Litem Appointment Fee: 125.00
    • Physician Evaluation Fee: $125.00
    • Sheriff's Service Fee: $50.00
    • Postage Fees: $0.50