While most people would prefer not to think about it, there may come a day when an elderly parent or even a younger loved one is no longer able to care for themselves either physically or financially.

As difficult as it can be to accept this loss of capacity on a personal level, matters can rapidly become even more difficult when questions arise as to who will assume the role of primary caretaker, and how this can even be accomplished.

The good news is that Georgia law provides two mechanisms through which a person can accomplish these objectives: guardianships and conservatorships.

What does a guardianship allow me to accomplish?

A guardianship enables a person to make important decisions relating to personal health and safety on behalf of an individual who no longer has the capacity to do so.

Decisions by the guardian, who is appointed by the probate court, are to be made respectfully, in the least restrictive manner possible, and only when absolutely necessary.

What does a conservatorship allow me to accomplish?

A conservatorship enables a person to make important decisions relating to property and finances on behalf of an individual who no longer has the capacity to do so.

Much like a guardian, decisions by the conservator, who is also appointed by the probate court, are to be made respectfully, in the least restrictive manner possible, and only when absolutely necessary.

Where would a person even file a petition to be appointed a guardian or conservator?

Georgia law dictates that petitions to be appointed a guardian or conservator must be filed in the probate court of the county in which the purportedly incapacitated person either resides or is otherwise located.

We will continue to examine this important topic in a series of posts. In the meantime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions about this or other estate planning topics.