2020 Georgia Code
Title 29 - Guardian and Ward
Chapter 4 - Guardians of Adults
Article 3 - Protection of the Ward
§ 29-4-22. Decisions on Ward's Well-Being; Obligations of Guardian; Liability of Guardian

Universal Citation: GA Code § 29-4-22 (2020)
  1. Except as otherwise provided by law or by the court, a guardian shall make decisions regarding the ward's support, care, education, health, and welfare. A guardian shall, to the extent feasible, encourage the ward to participate in decisions, act on the ward's own behalf, and develop or regain the capacity to manage the ward's personal affairs. To the extent known, a guardian, in making decisions, shall consider the expressed desires and personal values of the ward. A guardian shall at all times act as a fiduciary in the ward's best interest and exercise reasonable care, diligence, and prudence.
  2. A guardian shall:
    1. Respect the rights and dignity of the ward;
    2. Become or remain personally acquainted with the ward and maintain sufficient contact with the ward to know of the ward's capacities, limitations, needs, opportunities, and physical and mental health;
    3. If necessary, petition to have a conservator appointed;
    4. Endeavor to cooperate with the conservator, if any;
    5. Take reasonable care of the ward's personal effects;
    6. Arrange for the support, care, education, health, and welfare of the ward, considering the ward's needs and available resources;
    7. Expend money of the ward that has been received by the guardian for the ward's current needs for support, care, education, health, and welfare;
    8. Conserve for the ward's future needs any excess money of the ward received by the guardian; provided, however, that if a conservator has been appointed for the ward, the guardian shall pay to the conservator, at least quarterly, money to be conserved for the ward's future needs;
    9. Within 60 days after appointment and within 60 days after each anniversary date of appointment, file with the court and provide to the ward and to the conservator, if any, a personal status report concerning the ward, which shall include:
      1. A description of the ward's general condition, changes since the last report, and needs;
      2. All addresses of the ward during the reporting period and the living arrangements of the ward for all addresses;
      3. A description of the amount and expenditure of any funds that were received by the guardian pursuant to paragraph (7) of this subsection; and
      4. Recommendations for any alteration in the guardianship order;
    10. Promptly notify the court of any change in the ward's condition that in the opinion of the guardian might require modification or termination of the guardianship;
    11. Promptly notify the court of any conflict of interest between the ward and the guardian when the conflict arises or becomes known to the guardian and take any action as is required by Code Section 29-4-24; and
    12. Keep the court informed of the guardian's current address.
  3. A guardian, solely by reason of the guardian-ward relationship, is not personally liable for:
    1. The ward's expenses or the expenses of those persons who are entitled to be supported by the ward;
    2. Contracts entered into in the guardian's fiduciary capacity;
    3. The acts or omissions of the ward;
    4. Obligations arising from ownership or control of property of the ward; or
    5. Other acts or omissions occurring in the course of the guardianship.

(Code 1981, §29-4-22, enacted by Ga. L. 2004, p. 161, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Service of process on guardian of incapacitated adult, § 9-11-4(l)(4).

Law reviews.

- For annual survey on wills, trusts, guardianships, and fiduciary administration, see 67 Mercer L. Rev. 273 (2015).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1895, § 2571, and former Code 1933, § 49-603, as it read prior to revision by Ga. L. 1980, p. 1661, § 1, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Guardian is entitled to possession of ward's effects.

- Guardian of person and property of a lunatic is entitled to retain possession and control of ward's effects so long as guardianship continues; and to deprive the guardian of such possession and control before ward is restored to sanity, it is necessary that the guardian's letters be revoked and another guardian appointed. Bonner v. Evans, 89 Ga. 656, 15 S.E. 906 (1892) (decided under prior law).

Commingling of funds and failure to account is breach.

- Deposit of ward's funds to individual account of guardian, and failure to account therefor, is per se breach of the bond. Hawes v. Standard Accident Ins. Co., 54 Ga. App. 776, 189 S.E. 59 (1936) (decided under former Code 1933, § 49-603).

Guardian cannot maintain divorce proceedings.

- Suit for divorce instituted by guardian in behalf of one who has been adjudicated insane cannot be maintained in this state; the right to bring and prosecute such an action being strictly personal, and not within authority conferred by law upon a guardian. Phillips v. Phillips, 203 Ga. 106, 45 S.E.2d 621 (1947) (decided under former Code 1933, § 49-603).

Proceeding by next friend for waste with proceeding to remove guardian.

- If a next friend suing in behalf of a lunatic can maintain an action for waste committed by the guardian, or recover money in the guardian's hands, it can be done only in connection with a proceeding to remove the guardian and revoke guardianship letters. Bonner v. Evans, 89 Ga. 656, 15 S.E. 906 (1892) (decided under prior law).

Ward's visitation with father.

- Probate court had the authority to establish a set visitation schedule between an adult mentally disabled ward and the ward's father in order to protect the ward's rights and best interests under the broad powers granted in O.C.G.A. §§ 15-9-30(a),29-4-40, and29-4-41, despite the mother's/guardian's objection to the visitation. In re Estate of Wertzer, 330 Ga. App. 294, 765 S.E.2d 425 (2014).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 39 Am. Jur. 2d, Guardian and Ward, §§ 38 et seq., 86 et seq., 185 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 57 C.J.S., Mental Health, §§ 176 et seq., 185 et seq.

ALR.

- Right of guardian or committee of incompetent to incur obligations so as to bind incompetent or his estate, or to make expenditures, without prior approval by court, 63 A.L.R.3d 780.

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