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Guardianship and Conservatorship

Fortson, Bentley and Griffin’s elder law and special needs attorneys have substantial experience representing clients seeking guardianship and/or conservatorship of incapacitated relatives. Once our firm’s clients obtain a guardianship and/or conservatorship, our firm’s talented elder law and special needs attorneys counsel guardians and conservators as they endeavor to perform their court-appointed duties.

When an adult ceases to be able to make, communicate or implement sound decisions about his or her person or property, whether due to age, disability, mental illness or other causes, it may be necessary to empower a fiduciary to act on his or her behalf. A guardian is a court-appointed agent who is vested with the authority, and the duty, to act on behalf of the ward to protect his or her person. Likewise, a conservator is a court-appointed agent who is vested with both the power and the duty to act on behalf of the ward to protect his or her property. A conservatorship will generally extinguish all pre-existing legal authority to act on behalf of the respective ward and may thus be useful where the validity of an existing financial power of attorney is called into question, or where an agent purporting to act pursuant to such a power is believed to be unfit or disloyal.

Any person petitioning a court in the State of Georgia to be appointed a guardian or conservator must submit a relevant medical evaluation by a licensed physician that has examined the proposed ward. The proposed ward may object to such appointment and has the right to be represented by an attorney in the proceedings.

Unless limited by the court, a guardian will have general control over the personal decisions of the ward, including living arrangements and routine medical decisions. Likewise, a conservator will have general control over the assets of the ward. In each case, extraordinary decisions will generally require court approval.

Unlike agents authorized to act under powers of attorney, guardians and conservators are subject to oversight by the court and must regularly file status reports regarding the ward’s condition and finances. This provides enhanced protections for the ward and for those interested in his or her welfare. Conservators are generally required to post a bond to protect the ward’s assets, are limited in the types of investments they may make, and must seek court approval before entering into substantial contracts.

Fortson, Bentley and Griffin’s elder law and special needs attorneys have substantial experience representing clients both as they seek guardianship and/or conservatorship of incapacitated relatives and as they endeavor to perform the duties imposed thereby.

Please contact one of FB&G’s experienced elder law and special needs attorneys online or by telephone at 706-548-1151 to discuss your particular legal needs.