As your loved ones in Georgia start to get older, they might find it increasingly difficult to take care of themselves. They may not need 24/7 residential care, but they might have trouble driving, paying bills, managing their money and dealing with other adult responsibilities. To help your loved ones retain some independence, you could petition the court for a guardianship.
How does the court assign someone a guardian?
To start, you’ll need to petition the court to assign a guardian for your relative. Most judges take guardianships seriously because they can restrict your loved one’s individual freedoms. You’ll have to explain why your loved one needs a guardian and why alternatives to guardianship don’t go far enough. A guardianship attorney could help you with this process.
Once you’ve filed the petition, an authority will tell your relative about the situation. The court will then ask an objective third party to evaluate the situation and determine whether your loved one needs a guardian. Finally, the court will schedule a hearing that allows a judge to ask questions and review all the available information. If they determine that your loved one can’t take care of themselves, they’ll approve your guardianship petition and appoint someone to look after your relative.
Petitioning for guardianship can be an expensive and time-consuming process. You’ll have to pay court fees, filing fees and other expenses. If your loved one or one of their relatives objects to the guardianship, they’ll stretch out the process even further with legal challenges. Most states are reluctant to take someone’s rights away, so you’ll need to build a strong case that proves that guardianship is the right option for your loved one.
How can you start the guardianship process?
Before you start, talk to an attorney. They might suggest alternatives that could help your loved one look after themselves without undergoing the lengthy guardianship process. If your attorney agrees that guardianship is the best option, they could help you build a case that proves to the judge why your loved one needs help. They might also help you defeat legal challenges from other relatives.