Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
Referral Service for the Community Group
Group HomeGroup Home Blog Home Group Blogs
Search all posts for:   

 

View all (37) posts »
 

Care for Elderly Family Members – Guardians or Conservators

Posted By Joette Melendez, Thursday, August 15, 2019

Guardians and conservators are charged with caring for elderly family members who have become incapacitated. As a guardian or conservator, your job is to manage your loved one’s resources and protect them from exploitation. Both roles carry important responsibilities that you need to know, ideally before you agree to take them on.

 

The Difference Between Guardianship And Conservatorship 

 

In many cases, you can become both a guardian and conservator for a loved one. However, these roles are distinctly different:

 

  • A guardian protects the personal interests of another person who is incapable of caring for their own interests. Common responsibilities include arranging suitable housing, making health care appointments and facilitating doctor visits, and generally providing for the ward’s personal needs.
  • A conservator supervises an individual’s financial affairs. This could include everything from paying their bills to making financial investments on their behalf using approved funds for this purpose.

Choosing Someone You Can Trust 

 

As you can see, the court places a significant amount of trust on the guardian or conservator to do the right thing and not abuse their position. For that reason, it’s important to choose a guardian or conservator you trust now, before circumstances force the court to appoint one for you. You can include your wishes in your estate planning documents. By planning ahead before incapacity, you may be able to prevent a guardianship or conservatorship hearing from ever occurring and having your affairs managed by a pre-selected person you chose through proper estate planning.

 

Becoming a Guardian 

 

Selecting a guardian or conservator can be a complicated process, where emotions often run high. To become a guardian or conservator, you must file a petition with the local probate court where your loved one currently resides. The proposed ward (the person for whom guardianship is sought) will be informed of the petition and given the opportunity to hire his or her own lawyer. He or she will also undergo a mental evaluation by a doctor, psychologist or licensed clinical social worker.

 

Then, a hearing will be scheduled to review and finalize the petition. The court must approve someone who will best serve the interests of the proposed ward. In general, it follows this order of preference when choosing a guardian:

 

  • The person chosen by the ward, in writing, when he or she was of sound mind
  • The spouse of the proposed ward, an adult child or parent (in the case of minor guardianship) of the proposed ward
  • A previously appointed guardian in Georgia or another state
  • A capable volunteer the court finds suitable to the task
  • A county guardian, who is a public official appointed by the county to stand in as guardian, if no other suitable candidate is found

This process usually takes about a month, though it may be sped up if you have reason to believe your loved one is in real danger by filing an emergency guardianship. A temporary guardian can possibly be appointed within a week if necessary to protect your loved one. 

 

An Often Overlooked Issue In Guardianship Petitions 

 

Many people do not realize that as a conservator in Georgia, you must have a bond of insurance in addition to a willing heart. The bond serves to protect the financial interests of the proposed ward in case the conservator breaches his or her fiduciary duty with respect to the ward’s assets.

 

What If We Don’t Agree On Guardianship? 

 

Petitioning for guardianship of another person can be difficult for the entire family, especially if relatives do not agree on who should be appointed guardian or conservator. What starts out as a wish to protect mom from financial predators can become a fight over control of mom’s money.

 

This content was written by one of our panel members, Robert Turner, an attorney in

Atlanta, Georgia.

 

***If you or someone you know is faced with Probate issues, please call

Atlanta Bar Association's Lawyer Referral & Information Service

at 404-521-0777.***

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
 
Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal