Understanding Guardianships: There are Risks with Pursuing Guardianship

The decision to pursue guardianship should not be taken lightly. There are real risks with pursuing guardianship:

-The guardianship process requires you to say things about your loved one in open court and often in front of your loved one. Telling a judge that you think your mom is incapable of handling her own affairs and needs a guardian in front of your mom will inevitably make the next family gatherings very awkward and possibly painful. Also, other family members may chose to take sides, creating an even larger family conflict.

-Your loved one will have his/her rights taken away from him/her. When a guardian is appointed, the ward may no longer be able to decide where he/she lives, travels, arranges for medical care, marries, divorces, makes or changes a will, enters a contract, testifies in court, has a driver’s license, gives or refuses to give permission for other people to look at or get copies of your records, or file a lawsuit. These rights are often taken for granted as part of our liberty as adults living in the USA; taking them away should be done only when absolutely necessary.

-In addition to being painful, the guardianship process can be expensive. The filing fees alone can exceed one thousand dollars, and hiring an attorney can add even more expenses. These expenses grow exponentially if there is disagreement about the ward’s competency or about who should be the guardian.

-If you petition the probate courts for guardianship and do not win, you will be prohibited from trying again for 2 years.

The decision to pursue guardianship should not be taken lightly, and it should be the option of last resort. The experienced elder law attorneys at Hurley Elder Care Law evaluate each situation to find the least restrictive and least intrusive way to help you and your loved one. In some cases that might mean filing for guardianship, but we have often found different, least severe solutions. If you need personalized legal advice about guardianships in Georgia, please call our office at (404) 843-0121 or email us at info@hurleyeclaw.com.