Guardianship/Conservatorship of Minors
Proceeding Pro Se in Probate Court
In Georgia, Probate Courts have exclusive jurisdiction in matters relating to the appointment, supervision and discharge of guardians and conservators, except as otherwise provided by law.
The judge of the probate court of the county of the domicile of a minor having no guardian has the power to appoint a temporary or permanent guardian of person and/or conservator of property, or both, of such minor.
If the minor is over 14 years of age before the guardian is appointed, the judge of the probate court is required to follow any selection made by the minor, provided the selection is a judicious one. The selection once made cannot be changed by the minor, except by showing cause for the removal of the first guardian.
The probate court has no jurisdiction in cases concerning loss of custody by a parent or guardian due to cruel treatment, abandonment, or immoral conditions.
There is no authority vested in the judge of the probate court to displace a parent as guardian of the person of a minor. Thus, the judge of the probate court cannot appoint a permanent guardian of the person of a minor with living parents, unless the parents? rights have been terminated.
Temporary Guardianship of a Minor - F/K/A Temporary Guardianship of a Minor's Person
An appointment of a temporary guardian of a minor may be ordered when need is alleged by the person having actual physical custody of the said minor. However, no temporary guardian may be appointed unless proper notice is given to the natural parents/guardians or if any objection is filed by a natural parent/guardian.
- The petition must be complete and legible (please type or print with black ink)
- Petitioner must sign the verification page in front of a Notary Public or a Clerk of Probate Court
- Notice of the Petition must be given to the ?parents? of the minor. If an objection to the establishment of the temporary guardianship is filed by a parent who is also a ?natural guardian,? the Court will dismiss the Petition without a hearing. If a parent who is not a natural guardian objects, a hearing on the matter will be scheduled.
- A ?parent? is defined as the biological or adoptive father or mother whose parental rights have not been surrendered or terminated, except that in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the father shall be considered a ?parent? only if he has legitimated the minor.
- A ?natural guardian? is defined as each parent, unless the parents are divorced. If one parent has sole custody, that parent is the sole ?natural guardian.? If both parents have joint legal custody, then both parents are ?natural guardians.?
- If the child was not born here in Houston County, you will need to bring a certified copy of the child?s birth certificate.
The total cost is approximately $159.25 and must be paid in full before Letters of Guardianship will be issued. (This includes a $49.25 fee for the required background check on the proposed guardian/conservator). If publication is required, there will also be a separate fee of $60.00. That money order must be made payable to Houston Daily Journal and filed at the time of filing the petition. (Please refer to Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges Schedule of Costs)
Permanent Guardianship of a Minor
Petition for Letters of Guardianship of a minor can be filed when the minor has no natural guardian, testamentary guardian, or permanent guardian.
For further information on Temporary and Permanent Guardianships of Minor?s Person, please contact Susan Simons at email@example.com
Conservatorship of Minor - F/K/A Guardian of Minor's Property
An appointment of a Conservator of a minor is required when the minor is receiving funds over $15,000 from an inheritance, a settlement or any other source. You will file a petition with the court to become the conservator.
- All persons petitioning to become conservators must submit to a credit history.
- You will have to post bond in the same amount as the funds the minor is to receive.
- If this is a settlement, you will also need to file a Petition to Compromise a Doubtful Claim of Minor or a court order approving the minor?s settlement.
- You will file an Inventory and Assets Management Plan within 6 months of the appointment stating all assets in the minor?s estate.
- Each year on the anniversary date of your appointment as conservator, you will be required to file an annual return of all assets in the estate as well as an updated inventory and assets management plan.
- Upon the minor reaching the age of eighteen, all assets will be turned over to minor. The Conservator will then file a Petition for Final Settlement of Accounts and Discharge from Office and Liability that will include an affidavit signed by the former minor as to the amount of funds received.
The total cost is approximately $169.25 and must be paid in full before Letters of Conservator will be issued. (This includes a $49.25 fee for the required background check on the proposed guardian/conservator) If a Compromise Doubtful Claim of Minor is required, there will be additional filing fees of approximately $110.00. (Please refer to Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges Schedule of Costs)
Should publication be required, this will be a separate payment as well and shall be made payable to the Houston Home Journal.
For further information on the Creation of Conservatorships of Minors, email Kim Willson at firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions regarding Inventories, Assets Management Plans, Annual Returns, Leave to Sells and Discharges, contact Lynn Elvins at email@example.com
- www.gaprobate.org - Georgia Probate Court Online System - Standard Forms available to download in Microsoft Word Perfect (.WPD) or Adobe Acrobate (.PDF) formats. Includes useful web pages such as instructions for the forms, information on the duties of personal representatives, a handbook for guardians, heir determination worksheet, etc.
- www.gabar.org - State Bar of Georgia web site. Includes directory of State bar members, Frequently Asked Questions, and legal research resources. Mailing address -- 104 Marietta St., N.W. Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30303. Phone (404)527-8700; FAX (404)527-8717
- www.gabar.org/localbarsdisplay.asp?BarID=38 - Houston County Bar Association Information
- www.abanet.org - American Bar Association web site. Includes listing of accredited law schools, legal and professional resources, charities, etc. related to the legal profession.
- www.georgiacourts.org/aoc/departments/research/resources_for_self.html - a portion of the Administrative Office of the Courts that contains links for resources for people who will be representing themselves in court proceedings.
- www.ganet.org/services/ocode/ocgsearch.htm - Search the Georgia statutes by keyword or code section.