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Guardianship vs. conservatorship with your aging parent

As your parents get older, you may start to develop some concerns about their ability to make decisions. Individuals who suffer from dementia may spark an even greater worry in their loved ones, especially when you consider the number of significant choices one makes towards the end of his or her life.

In the state of Georgia, you do have the option of pursuing guardianship and conservatorship for your mother or father. These two terms sound similar, but they are actually quite different.

What guardianship covers

A guardianship concerns those decisions relating to the person’s own well-being. This includes medical care and treatment. As a guardian, you might choose where your parent lives and who takes care of him or her.

What conservatorship entails

The main difference when it comes to a conservatorship is that it involves the person’s assets, such as income or real estate property. If the court appoints you as conservator, you will likely address your parent’s estate when the time comes.

If you believe your parent needs this kind of assistance, you will have to petition the court for an official ruling on his or her legal capacity. This may involve in-depth interviews and a full medical evaluation, with recommendations from health care professionals.

Who performs these roles

The court has full and final say over which person becomes guardian or conservator. However, it will give special consideration to spouses and adult children, provided these individuals are the best choice for the person in question.

It is important to understand that in either of these cases, your mother or father is losing the right to direct his or her own choices. To help you and your family prepare, it is a good idea to sit down and discuss your parents’ wishes well ahead of any diagnosis. Putting a detailed plan in motion ensures your parents have valuable input in their future.

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At Hodges Law Firm, we handle a wide range of legal issues for clients throughout the Atlanta area, including elder law, estate planning, probate, Medicaid planning and protection, asset protection, litigation, and business law and services. We are knowledgeable in the law and understand the real life implications of legal actions.