If an individual fails to sign a power of attorney prior to becoming incapacitated, it may become necessary for other to seek guardianship and conservatorship over them. A â€œguardianshipâ€ may be set up to take care of an adult who is not capable of making personal and/or financial decisions for himself or herself. Under a guardianship, a person or an institution, called the â€œguardian,â€ has the legal power and duty to handle the personal affairs and a â€œconservatorâ€ the financial affairs of an incapacitated adult, called the â€œward.â€ For example, the guardian may need to consent to medical treatment, and the conservator may need to own and manage property.
In Georgia, the county Probate Courts set up guardianships and conservator-ships and appoint guardians and conservators. Many attorneys who practice in the area of Elder Law represent individuals who are seeking guardianship and/or conservatorship over someone else, as well as serving as counsel for the person over whom guardianship and/or conservatorship is being sought.
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