At the Teiger Law Center, P.C., we work with people in north Georgia who need advice regarding their legal and practical options for dealing with incapacity and declining capacity in a loved one, usually an elderly parent or minor child.
The distinction between a guardian and a conservator is primarily functional - a guardian is appointed to look after the personal care and living circumstances of the incapacitated person, while a conservator's work is limited to protecting the person's property and finances. The person lacking capacity is referred to as the ward.
In either case, the guardian or conservator must be appointed by a judge of the County Probate Court upon clear and convincing evidence that there exists a state of incapacity. A significant part of a probate lawyer's job relating to guardianship issues involves giving the family a good idea of what's involved in obtaining the court's order, including having an independent examination performed by a court-appointed physician in the case of an adult, then meeting the responsibilities of the guardian or conservator.
Our law firm also makes sure that people understand that guardianship and conservatorship are measures that essentially take away a great deal of a person's freedom of judgment and action. These solutions should be regarded as last resorts to protect a loved one from harm. In many cases, properly drafted and granted powers of attorney in a person's estate plan may avoid the need for a guardianship or conservatorship.
When necessary to protect the physical or financial safety of a vulnerable person, attorney Tracy Teiger can take your petition for guardianship or conservatorship to court. He also advises guardians and conservators about the proper discharge of their duties and works with people who do not believe that a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary to determine alternate means of protecting a prospective ward of the court. Our law firm's experience extends to the assertion, or defense, of claims related to the alleged negligent or dishonest discharge of duties by a guardian or conservator.
In many cases, we can let you know about alternatives to guardianship, or ways to limit the scope of a court appointment, that can meet the legitimate needs of all interested parties. For more information about our experience with the legal and practical challenges of guardianship and conservatorship, reach out to us by calling 800-780-2275 or 866-726-2153. You can also reach us via email by filling out our contact form.