Under Georgia law, a person is qualified to serve as a Guardian and/or Conservator of a proposed ward if such person is:
- Over the age of 18 years of age;
- A Georgia resident; or
- A non-resident who is related by lineal consanguinity to the ward; a legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the ward; a spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew of the ward, or someone elated by lineal consanguinity to any such person; or the spouse of a person otherwise qualified above; and
- Has never been convicted of a felony.
A petition for appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator for the proposed ward will be filed with the GA County Probate Court in which the proposed ward is domiciled. The petition must be submitted with a check to the GA County Clerk of Court for the filing fees. The filing fees vary slightly per each GA County Probate Court. If the petition is accepted, the Georgia Probate Court will instruct the proposed ward be served by the GA County Sheriff’s Department with a copy of the Petition. The GA Probate Court will order an evaluation of the ward by court appointed physician or psychologist licensed to practice in Georgia or a licensed clinical social worker. Thereafter, a written report will be filed and the Probate Court Judge or an Administrative Judge appointed by the GA Probate Court will conduct a formal and confidential hearing. If the proposed ward is declared “incompetent,” a Guardian and/or Conservator will be appointed. A guardian is usually a family member. There are professional guardians who perform the duties of a guardian for several different wards charging an annual fee for their services. The court will issue Letters of Guardianship to the guardian, as his/her court appointed authority to make decisions on the ward’s behalf. The guardian is answerable to the court. He/she must file an annual plan with the GA Probate court.