Guardianships And Conservatorships

Serving Those Who Take Care Of Others In Northeast Georgia

When a loved one is unable to manage his or her personal or financial affairs, a responsible adult must be given legal authority to make decisions for that loved one (referred to as a ward). If your loved one has lost the ability to take care of his or her health and safety, your loved one needs a conservator. If your loved one can no longer manage his or her financial or legal affairs, your loved one needs a guardian. At the law office of J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., our Gainesville guardianship and conservatorship lawyer knows how to help you protect your loved one.

The decision to petition for appointment of a guardian or conservator should not be made lightly. The process can be time-consuming and expensive. If a petition is granted, your loved one may lose many legal rights, such as the right to marry, to consent to medical treatment, to move to a new residence, to buy or sell property or to enter into a contract and, therefore, may oppose the proceedings, causing your relationship to become adversarial. There can be alternate ways to institute the same protections, but in a less extreme manner. The Georgia Probate Court web site has a good summary of these options.

What Is The Process For Petitioning For Guardianship Or Conservatorship?

In Georgia, petitions for guardianship or conservatorship are filed in the Probate Court in the county where your loved one lives. It is not required by law to have an attorney file the petition, but in many counties, the judge will not allow a petition to be filed in their court unless you are represented by an attorney to ensure that the legal requirements are fulfilled correctly.

To briefly summarize the petitioning process:

  • The petition is filed in Probate Court. The petition can be filed by a physician, psychologist or social worker, or by any two people (such as yourself and another family member) who swear to the facts in the petition.
  • If the petition is accepted by the court, the proposed ward is notified of the petition and is informed that he or she must be evaluated by a physician, psychologist or social worker and that he or she must hire an attorney or have one appointed by the court.
  • If the evaluation finds that a guardian or conservator is needed, a hearing is scheduled. The proposed ward has the right to attend the hearing, but his or her attorney may waive that right. At the hearing, the person who filed the petition gives testimony and presents evidence supporting the facts in the petition.
  • If the judge finds that the evidence justifies appointment of a guardian or conservator, he or she will order the appointment.

With nearly 25 years of experience in elder law and estate planning, Attorney J. Kevin Tharpe can review your circumstances and help you determine the best course of action for protecting your loved one.

Consult With An Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer In Gainesville And Young Harris

J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C. has nearly 25 years of experience in these matters. Call us at 866-253-6994 or contact us online for a consultation. Our offices in Gainesville and Young Harris serve all of Northeast Georgia.