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Temporary Guardianship of Minor

Temporary guardianship may be granted to a person having physical custody of a minor in need of a guardian.  The consent of the natural guardian(s) must be given in writing or the natural guardian(s) must be given legal notice of the proceeding.  The Probate Court may not grant temporary guardianship of a minor over the objection of a natural guardian.  

 
The natural guardian(s) of a minor is/are the parents, if living, or the parent(s) having legal custody of the minor if the parents are divorced or were never married.  The granting of temporary guardianship of a minor does not permanently terminate the parental rights of the parents.  
 
Temporary guardians hold, during the time of the temporary guardianship, all of the powers of a natural guardian, which will include the authority to consent to medical treatment and to enroll the child in school.  
 
Court Reporting:
Temporary guardians are required to file annual Personal Status Reports (PRS's) with the Court on the personal status and conditions of the minor.
 
Terminating Temporary Guardianship of Minor:
 A temporary guardianship shall terminate when the minor reaches the age of majority (18), the minor is adopted, the minor is emancipated, the minor dies, the temporary guardian dies, or a court order terminating the temporary guardianship is entered.  Proof of adoption, death, or emancipation must be filed with the Court.
 
Either natural guardian of the minor may at any time petition the court to terminate a temporary guardianship (see forms); provided, however, that notice of such petition shall be provided to the temporary guardian.  If no objection to the termination is filed by the temporary guardian within 10 days of the notice, the court shall order the termination of the temporary guardianship.  If the temporary guardian objects to the termination of the temporary guardianship within 10 days of notice, the Court shall have the option to hear the objection or transfer the records relating to the temporary guardianship to the juvenile court, which shall determine, after notice and hearing, whether a continuation or termination of the temporary guardianship is in the best interest of the minor.

Permanent Guardianship of Minor

A permanent guardian may be appointed for a minor who has no living parents or, after notice to the parents without objection, when the parents fail to properly care for the minor.  Permanent guardianship of a minor, though similar, is not the same as legal custody of a minor, which may be granted only by superior or juvenile courts in Georgia.

 
Court Reporting:
Permanent guardians are required to file annual Personal Status Reports (PSR's) with the Court on the personal status and conditions of the minor.

Testamentary Guardianship of Minor

A parent, in his or her will, may elect to nominate a testamentary guardian for a minor child or children.  In this instance, upon the probate of the deceased parent's will, provided there is no other living parent, the nominated person shall receive letters of guardianship without notice or hearing.  A testamentary guardian holds the same powers as a permanent guardian appointed by the Court, and is not required to give bond.


Court Reporting:
Testamentary guardians are required to file annual Personal Status Reports (PSR's) with the Court on the personal status and conditions of the minor.

Conservatorship of Minor

Under Georgia law, Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the appointment of conservators for minors.  Conservatorship for the property of a minor may become necessary even when the minor has living parents or a legal guardian of the minor's person.  The parent or guardian may serve as conservator if appointed and approved by the Court.  A conservator may be required if a minor inherits money or personal property not in a trust or under the management of a testamentary conservator, when a minor has received an award of damages in a personal injury lawsuit, or when a minor is the named beneficiary of life insurance or retirement benefits.  Conservators must be bonded for the value of all income  and personal property of the minor.

A conservator is a fiduciary entrusted with the management of the funds and property of the minor, 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 minor's property.
 
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, and statement of any fact necessary to show the true condition of the estate.

Dismissal and Discharge:
A conservatorship automatically terminates on the date the minor reaches the age of majority (18) or upon the death of the minor prior to reaching age 18.  A conservator may also petition 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 former minor (at age 18), to a successor conservator, if one has been appointed, or to the personal representative of a deceased minor's estate.  Upon a termination or resignation, a conservator may petition the Court for an order dismissing the conservator from office only, or proceedings for a final settlement of the conservator's accounts and discharge of the conservator 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 minor 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:
Unless restricted by the Court, conservators are authorized to make disbursements from the current, annual income of the minor for the support, care, education, health, and welfare of the minor. Conservators may not expend any portion of the principal or corpus of a minor’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 or in an Asset Management Plan filed with the Court. Whenever such authority is requested for purposes of the ongoing support and maintenance of the minor, the conservator must present a budget to the Court for an approved amount in excess of annual income. 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.