A Complete Guide to Adult Guardianship In Georgia

 

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What Is an Adult Guardianship?

If you have a loved one who is unable to handle their own affairs, you may be able to petition the court for adult guardianship. Learn more here.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Faulkner Law, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on July 03, 2021.

According to statistics from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), there are nearly 1.3 million adult guardianship cases in the United States, with approximately $50 billion of assets under management by court-appointed fiduciaries. The state of Georgia provides court-supervised fiduciary appointment to serve the needs of individuals who lack the capacity to manage their own affairs. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are unaware of how guardianship can help older adults and people with disabilities.

Guardianship is a probate court appointment of a person (guardian) to protect, support, make decisions, and oversee the affairs of an adult who has lost sufficient capacity to communicate important decisions or unable to make crucial decisions regarding their finances, personal needs, and general well-being. In Georgia, a guardian may be appointed by the probate court to care for the personal needs and manage the affairs of an older adult or incapacitated person.

At Faulkner Law, we have the experience and resources to guide and assist clients through the process of establishing guardianship and durable power of attorney. As your legal counsel, we can review your unique circumstances and offer you the detailed legal counsel and strong advocacy you need to appoint a guardian for an older or disabled adult. Even if you have been appointed as a guardian, our Georgia estate planning attorneys can educate you about your roles and responsibilities, and outline a checklist to help you perform your expected duties.

Guardianship of an Adult In Georgia

Guardianship is one of the available options through which parents can plan for the personal or health care of an adult child or incapacitated person in their absence. It is a fiduciary relationship established by probate court. 

During guardianship, the court grants a guardian the legal authority, power, and duty to make crucial decisions about an older or incapacitated adult’s personal and financial affairs, when they are unable to make such decisions by themselves. Once guardianship is approved, the older or incapacitated adult becomes the “ward.”

Atlanta Adult Guardianship Attorney

If you need help appointing a guardian for an older adult or incapacitated person, or if you’ve been appointed as a guardian and want to understand your roles and responsibilities, consulting with an experienced Georgia estate planning attorney is important for proper guidance.

We are proud to serve clients throughout Marietta, Georgia, and nearby areas. Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment and receive the knowledgeable counsel and legal advice you need.

Georgia Adult Guardianship Forms

In the state of Georgia, adult guardianship forms are a set of court forms that are usually used in the case where an adult becomes incapacitated due to a medical illness, accident, or death.

The guardianship form is used to determine who will care for an adult who:

  • Is mentally incompetent
  • Has lost the capacity to make crucial decisions for themselves
  • Is unable to communicate significant responsible decisions regarding their personal health or safety

If you are seeking guardianship of an adult loved one in Georgia, the attorneys at Faulkner Law can help take care of any necessary forms and ensure that they are filled and filed properly for the best possible outcome.

How to Get Guardianship of an Adult In GA

To start the guardianship process, the person who wishes to be named guardian of the alleged incapacitated adult must file a petition seeking guardianship. Upon filing the petition, the petitioner must pay the initial filing fees. Also, the person seeking guardianship must complete all pages of the petition.

Furthermore, the petitioner must provide substantial evidence showing to the probate court that:

  • The potential ward lacks the ability to manage their personal care or finances.
  • The potential ward lacks the ability to make or communicate significant responsible decisions.
  • Guardianship is required for the well-being of the proposed ward.

    If your guardianship petition is approved, the guardian will be required to file Personal Status Reports each year. The Personal Status Report provides the court with the following information:

    • Where the ward is located
    • How the ward is doing generally
    • How the guardian is meeting the ward’s needs
    • Any change in the condition or status of the ward that requires court’s intervention
    • Any change in the condition that necessitates a change in the guardianship order.

    The First Personal Status Report must be filed by the guardian within sixty (60) days after his or her appointment, and every year thereafter throughout the guardianship duration.

    Obtaining Guardianship of Adult Child

    To become a guardian of an adult child, you must file a petition with the local probate court where the person currently lives. The proposed ward (adult child for whom you’re looking to establish guardianship) will be informed of the petition. They will also be allowed to hire their own attorney. 

    The adult child will undergo mental evaluation by a psychologist, physician, or licensed clinical social worker. The probate court will schedule a hearing to review and finalize the guardianship petition.

     

    Choosing a Guardian for an Incapacitated Adult

    Selecting a guardian can be a complicated process. Generally, the court is expected to appoint a person who has the proposed ward’s best interests. When choosing a guardian, the court will follow this order of preference:

    • The person chosen by the ward when they were of sound mind
    • The spouse of the proposed ward
    • An adult child or parent of the proposed ward
    • A previously appointed guardian in Georgia or another state
    • A capable volunteer found suitable by the court to handle such responsibility
    • A county guardian appointed by the county to act as guardian in case the court finds no other suitable candidate

    The process of appointing a guardian in Georgia often takes roughly one month.

    Work With an Experienced Georgia Estate Planning Lawyer

    A guardian is responsible for taking care of the ward, managing their resources, and ensuring that they’re well protected. Attorney William “Stan” Faulkner and his legal staff can evaluate your needs and help you understand the guardianship process. Also, we will enlighten you about your legal rights, duties, and responsibilities as a guardian and how to achieve them.

    Whether you are trying to appoint a guardian for an incapacitated person or adult child, or you’ve already been appointed as a guardian, our experienced estate planning attorneys can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate key decisions. Our law firm proudly serves clients throughout Marietta, Georgia, and surrounding communities. Call us today at Faulkner Law to schedule a consultation.

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