All Answers are specific to Georgia law.

This FAQ does not constitute legal advice.  For more information, or for advice concerning your specific situation, consult Karen S. Hindson or Joy T. Melton of Hindson & Melton LLC .

An individual appointed by the Probate Court to manage the property of an incapacitated adult is called a “conservator”.  The individual who is responsible for making decisions concerning the health and safety of the adult is called the “guardian”.

When will the court appoint a conservator for an adult?
Only if the court finds the adult cannot make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning the management of his or her property.
The conservatorship must be designed to encourage maximum self-reliance and independence of the adult and will only be ordered if less restrictive alternatives are not available or appropriate.

What is the order of preference for appointment as conservator?
The list is similar to the order of preference for appointment as guardian, including a person nominated by the incapacitated adult, the spouse, the adult child, or the parent of the incapacitated adult.  A friend or the county guardian may be appointed if others are not available or appropriate.

Who may file a petition for appointment of a conservator?
Any interested person may file a petition in the county of domicile of the proposed ward or where the proposed ward is found.  The petition must be sworn to by two petitioners who have seen the proposed ward within the last 15 days or one petitioner and one physician, psychologist or licensed clinical social worker.

What is the procedure after filing of the petition for conservator?
It is the same procedure as the petition for guardianship – the court reviews the petition for probable cause, and if probable cause is found, serves the proposed ward with a copy of the petition and notice of his or her rights, including the right to an attorney, and the court appoints an evaluator (physician, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker) to meet with the proposed ward and report to the court.  The proposed ward’s attorney may file a response to the evaluation.
After review of the evaluation, the court believes there is probable cause, the court schedules a hearing.

What if both a guardian and conservator are appointed but are not the same person?
The court approves a budget plan to provide for the ward’s support, care, education, health, and welfare.

Is there a procedure for appointment of an emergency conservator?
Yes, it is similar to the procedure for emergency guardian.

If you have questions about your situation, contact Karen S. Hindson of Hindon & Melton LLC.