November 17, 2016
Authored by: Luke Lantta
Guardianships and conservatorships are seldom happy events. Despite whatever may have precipitated the need for financial or personal protection, there must be an attempt to respect the desires of the ward, if possible. That’s why, when it comes to picking a conservator, the ward’s choice falls first in the order of priorities of appointment. However, in In re Estate of Curtis, the Georgia Court of Appeals determined that’s where the order of priority may end – at the inception of the conservatorship.
A ward wanted to replace his conservator for a variety of reasons. And, while the appellate court’s opinion focused mainly on evidentiary issues, it also addressed how to handle a ward’s preference for a particular conservator. The time for a ward to express his or her preference is at the initial appointment of the conservator. Nothing in the record demonstrated that the ward had nominated anyone else prior to the initial appointment of the conservator or appealed the order appointing the initial conservator. Therefore, the ward’s preference for a different conservator after that initial appointment was not given the same priority consideration.