Guardianships and Conservatorships

Guardianship is a legal relationship whereby one person receives the court-appointed authority to make medical or financial decisions for another person.  If you know an adult who has been incapacitated and can benefit from the care and assistance of a probate guardian, the attorneys at Brown, Barbour, & Thrailkill, P.C. can work with you and a Georgia probate court to set up a guardianship. We can also help you file a petition for a conservatorship if you know a minor or an incapacitated adult who needs help managing their estate and financial affairs.

There are two kinds of guardianships in the state of Georgia. There is the guardianship of the person and the guardianship of the estate/property—known as a conservatorship. Both kinds of guardianships can be permanent or temporary, total or limited in the scope of powers granted to the guardian or conservator.

For individuals who need the help of a guardian and a conservator, a court may decide to appoint two different people to fill each role or just one person to fulfill both sets of responsibilities. Although the courts tend to consider spouses, adult children, brothers or sisters, and other blood relatives first when deciding whom to appoint as a guardian, any adult without any conflict of interest may apply to become someone’s guardian or conservator. It will be up to the court, however, to make the final decision.

Guardianship

A guardianship of the person is a court-appointed guardian who has been authorized to make decisions for another person (called the ward). Anyone over 18 years of age who suffers from mental deficiency, mental illness, or any other condition that makes them unable to care for themselves may become a ward in need of a guardian.

A court-appointed guardian may be authorized by the courts to decide a number of matters, such as where the ward will live and what kind of health care he or she may need. The ward will often be an adult who is incapacitated and incapable of making these decisions.

Conservatorship

The court appoints a conservator to manage and make decisions regarding another person’s property and financial affairs. Responsibilities may include any or all of the following:

  • Opening a bank account for the protected person that will allow the conservator to pay their bills and settle debts
  • Posting bond as the new conservator
  • Making a list of the protected person’s assets and giving this information to the court
  • Accounting for any expenses spent by the conservator on the protected person’s behalf
  • Supervising and maintaining the protected person’s assets
  • Applying for medical, employment, and government benefits for the protected person.

Conservatorships can be set up for both children and incapacitated adults. Entrusting your loved one or his or her estate into someone else’s care is an important matter, and Brown, Barbour, & Thrailkill, P.C. can make sure that your case is handled correctly.

Terminating a Guardianship or Conservatorship

There may come a time when a guardianship or conservatorship needs to be terminated because the adult is no longer incapacitated, has died, or is a minor who has become a legal adult. Our attorneys at Brown, Barbour, & Thrailkill, P.C. can take care of this matter.

Removing A Conservator or Guardian or Contesting Their Appointment

There are cases where a person may object to having a conservator or a guardian appointed for them. We have successfully represented clients in court who feel that they are capable of taking care of themselves.

We also have worked on cases where family members or the ward have filed complaints and requested the removal of the guardian or conservator because they allegedly have breached their fiduciary responsibilities. Our attorneys have the litigation skills and experience to handle these cases for you and ensure that your loved one is protected.

To schedule your consultation regarding your guardianship or conservatorship matter, contact the attorneys at Brown, Barbour, & Thrailkill, P.C. at (770) 461-2025.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a trusted person, known as an agent, to handle your legal and financial affairs on your behalf while you are alive. A power of attorney does not take away your right to handle your own affairs, but rather it gives authority to others to handle your affairs in addition to you.  A power of attorney is typically needed in the event you become mentally or physically unable to make informed, responsible decisions on your own behalf. The arrangement can last as long as a particular ailment continues or until the end of life. You can revoke or cancel a power of attorney at any time.  Examples of the different areas of finances your agent may or may not have control over include: bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real property, personal property, taxes, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and social security benefits.

When you reach a point where you need the help of others to manage your affairs, the law firm of Brown, Barbour, & Thrailkill, P.C. can help.  To schedule your consultation regarding your power of attorney needs, contact the attorneys at Brown, Barbour, & Thrailkill, P.C. at (770) 461-2025.

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