2022 Georgia Code
Title 29 - Guardian and Ward
Chapter 5 - Conservators of Adults
Article 3 - Rights and Responsibilities of Ward
§ 29-5-23. Authority of Conservator; Cooperation With Guardian or Other Interested Parties

Universal Citation: GA Code § 29-5-23 (2022)
  1. Unless inconsistent with the terms of any court order relating to the conservatorship, a conservator without court order may:
    1. Make reasonable disbursements from the annual income or, if applicable, from the annual budget amount that has been approved by the court pursuant to Code Section 29-5-30 for the support, care, education, health, and welfare of the ward and those persons who are entitled to be supported by the ward;
    2. Enter into contracts for labor or service upon such terms as the conservator may deem best, but only to the extent that the annual compensation payable under such contracts, when combined with other anticipated disbursements, does not exceed the amount of the annual income or, if applicable, the annual budget amount that has been approved by the court pursuant to Code Section 29-5-30;
    3. Borrow money for one year or less and bind the ward or the ward’s property, but only if the amount of the annual payments, when combined with other anticipated disbursements, does not exceed the amount of the annual income or, if applicable, the annual budget amount that has been approved by the court pursuant to Code Section 29-5-30 and only if done for purposes of paying the ward’s debts, repairing the ward’s dwelling place, or providing for the support, care, education, health, or welfare of the ward and the persons who are entitled to be supported by the ward;
    4. Receive, collect, and hold the ward’s property, additions to the ward’s property, and all related records;
    5. Retain the property received by the conservator upon the creation of the conservatorship in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 29-5-31;
    6. Bring, defend, or participate in legal, equitable, or administrative proceedings, including alternative dispute resolution, as are appropriate for the support, care, education, health, or welfare of the ward in the name of or on behalf of the ward;
    7. Fulfill, as far as possible, or, to the extent permitted by law, disaffirm the executory contracts and comply with the executed contracts of the ward;
    8. Revoke a revocable trust set up by the ward or exercise such other powers of revocation, amendment, or withdrawal that are exercisable by the ward, but only if the governing instrument expressly allows a conservator to revoke the trust or exercise the powers;
    9. Examine the will and any other estate planning documents of the ward;
    10. Appoint an attorney in fact to act for the conservator when the conservator is unable to act; provided, however, that the conservator and the conservator’s sureties shall be bound for the acts of the attorney as if the acts were the personal acts of the conservator;
    11. Invest the ward’s property pursuant to the provisions of Code Sections 29-5-32 and 29-5-33;
    12. Sell the ward’s stocks and bonds pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of Code Section 29-5-35;
    13. Compromise any contested or doubtful claim for or against the ward if the proposed gross settlement as defined in Code Section 29-3-3 is in the amount of $25,000.00 or less; and
    14. Release the debtor and compromise all debts in the amount of $25,000.00 or less when the collection of the debt is doubtful.
    1. In the petition for appointment, or at any time during the conservatorship, the conservator may request the continuing power:
      1. To invest the ward’s property in investments other than those authorized in Code Section 29-5-32, pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 29-5-34, without further court approval of any investment;
      2. To sell, rent, lease, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any or all of the ward’s real or personal property without complying with the provisions of Code Section 29-5-35 other than the provisions for additional bond set forth in subsection (e) of Code Section 29-5-35;
      3. To continue the operation of any farm or business in which the ward has an interest; or
      4. To access the digital assets of the ward, pursuant to Code Section 53-13-20.
    2. Unless the request for the powers described in paragraph (1) of this subsection is made in the petition for the initial appointment of the conservator, the court shall order a hearing as the court deems appropriate. Notice shall be given by personal service to the ward and a guardian ad litem appointed for the ward. Notice shall be given by first-class mail to the guardian of the ward, if any; the surety on the conservator’s bond; and to the following relatives of the ward whose whereabouts are known:
      1. The spouse of the ward; and
      2. All adult children of the ward; or
      3. If there is no adult child, then at least two adults in the following order of priority:
        1. Lineal descendants of the ward;
        2. Parents and siblings of the ward; and
        3. Friends of the ward.
  2. At the time of the appointment of the conservator or at any time thereafter, and after appointment of a guardian ad litem for the ward and a hearing as the court deems appropriate, any of the following powers may be specifically granted to the conservator on a case-by-case basis, upon notice as the court shall determine:
    1. To make disbursements that exceed by no more than a specific amount the annual income or, if applicable, the annual budget amount that has been approved by the court pursuant to Code Section 29-5-30 for the support, care, education, health, and welfare of the ward and those persons who are entitled to be supported by the ward;
    2. To enter into contracts for labor or service for which the compensation payable under such contracts, when combined with other disbursements from the estate, exceeds the annual income or, if applicable, the annual budget amount that has been approved by the court pursuant to Code Section 29-5-30;
    3. To make specific investments of the ward’s property that do not comply with the provisions of Code Section 29-5-32, pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 29-5-34;
    4. To sell, rent, lease, exchange, or otherwise dispose of specific items of the ward’s real or personal property without complying with the provisions of Code Section 29-5-35 other than the provisions for additional bond set forth in subsection (e) of Code Section 29-5-35;
    5. To compromise a contested or doubtful claim for or against the ward if the proposed gross settlement as defined in Code Section 29-3-3 is more than $25,000.00;
    6. To release the debtor and compromise all debts for which the collection is doubtful when the amount of the debt is $25,000.00 or more;
    7. To use the ward’s property to erect a dwelling for the ward or make an addition or renovation to the ward’s dwelling place;
    8. To establish or add property to a trust for the benefit of the ward and, if applicable, those individuals who are entitled to support from the ward; provided, however, unless otherwise provided by court order pursuant to Code Section 29-5-36, the trust must provide that the ward may revoke the trust if the ward is restored to capacity and the trust shall terminate upon the ward’s death and any property remaining in the trust shall be paid to the ward’s estate;
    9. To disclaim or renounce any property or interest in property of the ward in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 53-1-20;
    10. To access the digital assets of the ward pursuant to Code Section 53-13-20;
    11. To engage in estate planning for the ward pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 29-5-36; and
    12. To perform such other acts as may be in the best interest of the ward.
  3. In granting any of the powers described in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section, the court shall consider the views of the guardian, if available, or, if there is no guardian, of others who have custody of the ward.
  4. In performing any of the acts described in this Code section, the conservator shall endeavor to cooperate with the guardian or, if there is no guardian, with others who have custody of the ward.

History. Code 1981, § 29-5-23 , enacted by Ga. L. 2004, p. 161, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 29/HB 95; Ga. L. 2011, p. 752, § 29/HB 142; Ga. L. 2018, p. 1089, § 6/SB 301; Ga. L. 2019, p. 693, § 17/HB 70; Ga. L. 2022, p. 207, § 6/HB 620.

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, in paragraph (b)(1), deleted “or” at the end of subparagraph (b)(1)(B), added “; or” at the end of subparagraph (b)(1)(C), and added subparagraph (b)(1)(D).

The 2019 amendment, effective January 1, 2020, added paragraph (c)(10) and redesignated former paragraphs (c)(10) and (c)(11) as present paragraphs (c)(11) and (c)(12), respectively.

The 2022 amendment, effective May 2, 2022, substituted “$25,000.00” for “$15,000.00” in paragraphs (a)(13), (a)(14), (c)(5), and (c)(6).

Cross references.

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

Contracts for labor or service by trustees and administrators, § 53-7-8 (Pre-1998 Probate Code).

Private sale of certain stocks and bonds by guardian, § 53-8-37 (Pre-1998 Probate Code).

Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, § 53-13-1 et seq.

Law reviews.

For note discussing and comparing the prudent man rule and the legal list rule in trustee investment, see 15 Mercer L. Rev. 530 (1964).

For article, “The Child as a Party in Interest in Custody Proceedings,” see 10 Ga. St. B.J. 577 (1974).

For article, “The Scope of Permissible Investments by Fiduciaries Under Georgia Law,” see 19 Ga. St. B.J. 6 (1982).

For annual survey of law of wills, trusts, and administration of estates, see 38 Mercer L. Rev. 417 (1986).

For annual survey of wills, trusts, and administration of estates, see 42 Mercer L. Rev. 491 (1990).

For article, “Wills, Trusts & Administration of Estates,” see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 499 (2001).

For annual survey on wills, trusts, guardianships, and fiduciary administration, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 341 (2017).

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