Rule for Re-filing for a Guardianship or Conservatorship

Georgia Estate planning attorney Mark Biernath and Cobb County probate Judge Kelli Wolk address reapplying for a guardianship and/or conservatorship if the petition is denied or if there is a significant change in circumstances of the individual.   

Judge Wolk: The interesting fact is that there is a probate judge in each county of Georgia. The disappointing fact, sometimes, is that there is only one probate judge in each county of Georgia! You have to file where the adult is domicile, where they live, or where they are found. So you are filing in the same place.  You cannot re-file a guardianship for 2 years after it has been denied unless there is an exceptional change in circumstance. This applies for both conservatorships and guardianships.

Mr. Biernath: You have to wait 2 years until a re-file except if there is a significant change. For instance, if the conservatorship was denied because there were no assets but they win the lottery, that is a change in circumstances. You can come within 2 year window and say “Your honor, my child now has a $2 Million winning lottery ticket. What do we do?”

Judge Wolk: Or you’ve got someone with a developmental delay who is then in a car accident and is at the hospital. Those type of change in circumstances. Or an inheritance.