When an individual lacks the capacity to make decisions for themselves, Georgia courts can step in and appoint a guardian. In legal terms, the individual needing assistance is also referred to as a potential ward. The ward’s legal guardian has broad authority to make decisions on their behalf, such as where they will live and the type of healthcare they receive.
If one of your loved ones is struggling and you think they might need an appointed custodian to preserve their best interests, seek out the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney. With the help of a professional, you could take the legal steps necessary to protect them. Contact a Sandy Springs uncontested guardianship lawyer today to discuss your options.
In this state, guardianship has a specific meaning. A guardian is responsible for initiating all the life decisions that an adult has lost – or never had – the capacity to make. This is especially common in older individuals who develop dementia or those with developmental or intellectual disabilities.
There are specific guidelines surrounding a guardian’s scope of responsibilities and limitations. According to the Official Code of Georgia § 29-4-1, a person with a guardian cannot marry or sign contracts without the guardian’s permission. However, they are able to vote and make a valid will unless a court specifically deprives them of one or both of those rights. A seasoned uncontested guardianship attorney in Sandy Springs could help explain these nuances for a better understanding of what is expected.
A guardian must be at least 18 years of age and cannot be the subject of a current guardianship or conservatorship. This person is also not permitted to be the owner or operator of a care facility where the potential ward resides unless they are related by blood or marriage.
Georgia courts also prefer appointing a custodian that the proposed ward has nominated. If the ward did not choose someone, then a spouse or adult child, or someone designated by a spouse or adult child, could be given guardianship. It is preferential for this position to be given to an individual with a longstanding relationship of trust with the ward. This should be someone who knows their preferences and values, will consult the ward, and consider their wishes to the extent possible.
If the proposed ward agrees that a specific person should be their guardian, the individuals could file a petition with the court to establish guardianship. If the proposed ward does not have the capacity to consent, the proposed guardian and one other interested party could bring the petition together. If only one person brings the petition, it must include an affidavit from a licensed physician, psychologist, or social worker that supports the proposed ward’s need for a guardian.
If the evidence indicates the need for a guardian, an oath will be administered, and Letters of Guardianship will be issued to the person who brought the petition.
Georgia courts will also notify the proposed ward of the proceeding. Seeking the representation of a Sandy Springs uncontested guardianship attorney is recommended to ensure all necessary details are properly documented.
Within two months of their appointment, the guardian must file a report on the ward’s physical and mental condition and note any changes they think are necessary. The guardian must continue to make these reports every year until the guardianship ends.
If a loved one cannot care for themselves, guardianship could be the best way to keep them safe. Although it can be challenging to accept, it is sometimes a necessary act of kindness.
A Sandy Springs uncontested guardianship lawyer could help your family decide when and if it is appropriate to make this change. Schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and caring team members today.