In the event of a loved one becoming incapacitated in Georgia, many people have to resort to seeking the appointment of a Guardian and Conservator through a formal petition in a local probate court. Currently, this involves a process where family members must draft and file a petition setting forth the grounds for guardian and conservator, paying a $270 filing fee, have an evaluation of the proposed ward, and then go through a formal hearing in the probate court. This can take a considerable amount of time before the court issues an order. Additionally, proceeding on these matters often require the skilled work and advice of a probate attorney, which can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the nature of the case. If there are family members in disagreement as to who should be taking care of the ward, that will likely add to a person’s legal costs. Once a guardianship and conservatorship order is issued, the person in charge of the ward will have to file regular reports with the probate court and be subject to its supervision. This costly emotional turmoil, however, can be avoided through proper planning.
The most effective way to avoid this scenario is for a person to have a power of attorney. Powers of attorney allow for a person to designate someone to manage his/her affairs (financial, health, or both) without the need of court interaction and supervision. In addition with the ability to divide out responsibilities for finances and care of the person, a power of attorney can also be flexible in terms of when it goes in to effect. A power of attorney can be effective immediately, or it can do so at a later date, such as in the event of a person’s incapacity (usually noted with a sworn statement by a physician). A power of attorney offers a lot of coverage and flexibility for a person who has become incapacitated, but doesn’t involve the amount of expense and time that is required when petitioning for a guardianship through a probate court. Often times, the cost of drafting a power of attorney is lower than the filing fee for a petition for guardianship with the probate court.
To find out what kind of power of attorney would work best for you and your family’s needs, please call the skilled attorneys of Boyce Larsen today to schedule a consultation.