Guardianship & Conservatorship | Savannah, GA
At The Sullivan Law Firm, we consider protecting people to be a cornerstone of our mission as a law firm, and it takes many forms.
Guardianship (Minors & Adults)
Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult (the "guardian") and a person who because of legal incapacity (because of being under 18 years old) or, for adults, incapacity that arises when someone is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs (the "ward").
A guardian for an adult is chosen either by the courts or by a legal document such as a will, advance health care directive, or durable power of attorney (an official document that allows someone to make legal decisions on behalf of someone else who is unable to make decisions on their own).
When evaluating a guardianship petition, the probate court attempts to determine if the proposed ward is incapacitated and, if so, to what extent the individual requires assistance. If the court determines that the proposed ward is indeed incapacitated, the court then decides if the person seeking the role of guardian will be a responsible guardian.
Typically, for children, a guardianship is necessary for a child whose parents can no longer care for them, or an individual over the age of eighteen who is incapacitated due to age or disability.
The most common reasons for discussing guardianships with a lawyer are:
Naming a guardian for minor children in a will
Incarceration or hospitalization of the primary caregiving parent
Special needs children that are turning 18 years old
Competency concerns regarding an aging relative
In Georgia, the probate court in your county has jurisdiction over guardianship-related matters for both children and adults.
Permanent guardianship of children (minors under 18 years of age) is different from legal custody, which can only be granted by the superior or juvenile courts. Whether a family emergency requires Temporary Letters of Guardianship of a Minor or a Grandparent Guardianship, or your disabled child has recently turned 18, or you simply want to P.L.A.N.™ for future contingencies.
In Georgia, there is a difference between needing a guardian and a conservator.
Conservatorships seek to manage the ward's property and financial affairs, as opposed to the management of their person, which is addressed through guardianship. The probate court must determine that the ward is unable to manage his or her own financial affairs and whether the proposed conservator is qualified and appropriate to look out for the ward's best interests.
Children are presumed under the law to be unable to manage their own affairs. Georgia law requires that when a minor inherits more than $15,000, a conservatorship must be created.
In Georgia, the probate court in your county has jurisdiction over conservatorship-related matters for both children and adults.
At The Sullivan Law Firm, we can help you to complete the appropriate requirements and navigate any court proceedings needed put a guardianship and/or a conservatorship in place.