GUARDIANSHIP/CONSERVATORSHIP/ MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID-19

Emergency Petitions for guardianship/conservatorship; Medical Consent guardianships: These petitions are governed by specific laws and must meet the criteria set out in those laws. You may file these in person at the Clerk’s office. However, please email your petition in advance of your coming to the courthouse to ymmaxwell@chathamcounty.org so that we may both review your pleading to make sure it complies with Georgia law and so that we can get the necessary emergency measures in place to proceed with your petition when it is filed. Again, these procedures are to try to serve you as efficiently and properly as possible, while at the same time trying to limit unnecessary exposure.

Emergency Order to Apprehend: This is a measure designed to immediately protect a person’s very life and health, and requires an affidavit from at least two persons who have personal knowledge gained within the preceding 48 hours. It is very time sensitive. For this, you must appear at the Probate Court in person, prepared with the necessary facts and other information for your pleadings.

Non-emergency or other cases: Examples of such cases might be petitions to appoint a guardian or a conservator, or to appoint a successor for a guardian or a conservator. Or for a guardian or conservator to file reports. Absent a time-critical situation, we accept these filings only by mail or overnight delivery.

We understand that there may be situations in which you allege that a guardian or conservator has been mistreating a ward or stealing or wasting the ward’s assets, and you would like to have this stopped or perhaps sanctions imposed. If those instances are critical, we will accept your filing in person at the court; if they are not critical, we ask that you file by mail or overnight delivery.

Hearings By Remote Video Conferencing: : The Supreme Court’s order of judicial emergency, as modified and extended, suspended the Uniform Rules of Probate Court rule 11.2(E)(4), which addresses public access to the location at which a judge is presiding over a remote video conference. According, the public and all litigants are hereby notified that any hearings scheduled to be conducted during the period of judicial emergency may be conducted remotely. You may contact the Clerk of Probate Court for information about viewing such remotely handled hearings. (You may read the Supreme Court’s orders at: https://www.gasupreme.us/rules/amendments-to-rules/).

Common Forms


Information


In which county do I file my petition for guardianship and/or conservatorship of an adult?

Petitions for the Appointment of a Guardian and Conservator of an Adult are filed in the proposed ward’s county of domicile or in the county where the proposed ward is found.


When is a petition for guardianship and conservatorship of an adult required?

In Georgia, The Probate Court may grant guardianship of an adult who is found by the court to lack sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning his or her health or safety, and may grant conservatorship of an adult who is found by the court to lack sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning the management of his or her property.

Petitions may be filed once a proposed ward has turned 17½ years of age.


What is the procedure for becoming a guardian or conservator for an adult?

After your petition is filed, the court will serve the proposed ward, appoint an attorney for the proposed ward, schedule an evaluation by a court-appointed evaluator, and schedule a hearing. Additionally, the Court will notify the nearest adult relatives (including but not limited to parents, siblings, children) about the petition and the hearing.

The Probate Court will obtain a criminal history for all persons nominated to serve as either guardian or conservator.

Often conservators are required to post a bond prior to their appointment. A bond is an insurance policy to ensure that the ward’s funds are protected in the event that the appointed conservator mishandles the assets. The court will set the amount of the bond based on the value of the liquid assets of the ward. Insurance companies write bonds based on a credit check. We suggest that you start with your auto or homeowners insurance company and if they are not able to write surety bonds, you may request a list of insurance companies at the time your petition is filed.


What if I am not approved for a Bond?

If you are not approved for a bond, you may file a motion with the court requesting the appointment of a county conservator; or if the court does not receive your bond within 60 days of the date of your appointment, the court will automatically appoint a county conservator.


What are my responsibilities as Guardian and/or Conservator?

You are required to file annual reports with the Court and the Court reviews the reports to ensure that the guardian and/or conservator is being responsible and that the ward is safe and secure.


When does the guardianship and/or conservatorship end?

A guardianship of an adult ward ends automatically when the adult ward dies.

A conservatorship of an adult ward ends when the ward dies, when a ward’s rights are restored, or when the ward’s assets no longer justify management by a conservator. In order to close a conservatorship and be relieved from liability under the bond, the conservator must file a Petition for Discharge. In the event a ward dies, a certificate of death or copy of an obituary should be filed with the Court.

If you have been serving as a guardian or conservator for an adult and no longer wish to serve, you may file a Petition for Resignation seeking the appointment of a successor.


How much does it cost to file a petition for the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator for an adult?

In addition to the filing fee for the petition, the petitioner also pays for the court-appointed attorney (approximately $150) and evaluator (approximately $150).

Probate Court Fees


If you have any further questions specific to a guardianship and/or conservatorship of an adult, please call (912) 652-7264 (Option 5)