Being appointed guardian of a loved one by your local probate court is a serious responsibility. As guardian, you are in charge of your loved one’s well-being and you have a duty to act in his or her best interest.
How Do I Become A Guardian?
If an adult becomes mentally incapacitated and is incapable of making responsible decisions, the court will appoint a substitute decision maker, often called a "guardian.” Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult (the "guardian") and a person who because of incapacity is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs (the "proposed ward" or “ward”). Someone seeking to a guardian in Georgia needs to file a petition with the probate court where the proposed ward lives to ask to be appointed by the court to act as that person’s guardian.
What Do I Do Once Appointed As Guardian?
If you have been appointed guardian, the following are things you need to know:
Read the court order.
The court appoints the guardian and sets up your powers and duties. You can be authorized to make legal and health care decisions for the ward. Depending on the terms of the guardianship, you may or may not have to seek court approval for various decisions. If you aren’t sure what you are allowed to do, give The Sullivan Law Firm a call. We can help.
You have a fiduciary duty to your ward.
A "fiduciary duty” is an extremely high standard that requires you to act in the best interest of your ward at all times.
File reports on time.
The court order should specify what reports you are required to file.
Consult the ward.
As much as possible you should include the ward in your decision-making. Georgia law puts a lot of value in self-determination and support decision making for wards. Communicate what you are doing and try to determine what your ward would like done.
Don’t limit social interaction.
Guardians should not limit a ward’s interaction with family and friends unless it would cause the ward substantial harm. Social interaction is usually beneficial to an individual’s well-being and sense of self-worth.
If you need to obtain a guardianship over a friend or loved one, The Sullivan Law Firm can help. Call or email us today to learn more about the guardianship process in Georgia and to get started with your paperwork today.