A person who receives Guardianship powers over an adult ward has substantial powers under the law. To limit this authority, the law dictates limitations on these powers. In addition, the duties of a Guardian in Georgia extend not just to the wards themselves but also to the family members of those people.
As a result, it is essential that any person seeking Guardianship powers understand their duties under the law. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Nelson Elder Care Law can help you determine whether you are ready to take on this responsibility, as well as evaluate your potential personal liability if you fail to meet these standards.
For a court to consider whether to take the monumental step of creating a Guardian/ward relationship, it must evaluate the ability of the proposed Guardian to serve in that role. Because a Guardian has control over the day-to-day care of another person as well as that person’s legal rights, the court must make certain that the Guardian is fit to follow the requirements of the law.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 29-4-23 describes those obligations. It creates a general duty that requires a Guardian to act reasonably and only for the benefit of the ward. More specifically, as a Guardian, you will likely need to:
Every Guardian in Georgia agrees to meet these standards. Failures to do so could lead to a termination of the Guardian/ward relationship as well as legal repercussions for the Guardian. Nelson Elder Care Law can provide more in-depth information about the concept of the duties of Guardians in Georgia.
A Guardian who fails to live up to their responsibilities under the law faces two potential sources of legal trouble. The first can come from the court that is overseeing the relationship. On its own initiative, or upon that of another concerned party, the court may ask a Guardian to provide updates or reports on their activities as a Guardian. In addition, to secure good behavior, O.C.G.A. § 29-4-30 authorizes the court to order that the Guardian provide a bond. If the court finds that a Guardian has abused their powers under the law, it may order the forfeiture of this bond, rescind the Guardianship powers, and even hold the Guardian in contempt of court.
The second source of potential legal complications comes from third parties. These people have the right to monitor court proceedings or ask a judge to evaluate the actions of Guardians. If a court agrees that a Guardian has abused their power, these third parties may attempt to hold that Guardian personally liable for any resulting personal injury or financial harm suffered by the ward. This means that a Guardian may face legal action if their failures result in damages.
Guardians play an invaluable role in the lives of their wards. They possess significant power to take control over money, healthcare, and day-to-day routines. With this power they have the responsibility to act as a reasonable person would and for the sole benefit of the ward. Nelson Elder Care Law can further explain the duties of a Guardian in Georgia and help you decide if this is the right role for you. Call today to get started.
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