Conservatorship for a Minor Child

A “conservator” of a minor is a person who is appointed by a Georgia court to handle the property (financial assets, personal property, or real property) of a minor.  Under common circumstances, a minor’s natural guardian (i.e., parent) lacks the authority to receive and manage property of a minor.  For example, when a minor stands to inherit a relatively large sum of money or property, a conservatorship may be a requirement to receive that inheritance distribution.  Under such circumstances, a conservatorship must be created by petitioning the correct court to appoint the conservator and issue Letters of Conservatorship.

The position of “conservator” entails certain powers and duties related to the management of the minor’s property.  In addition to fiduciary duties, the conservator also has a duty to make certain reports to the court regarding the use of the minor’s property.  Sometimes it also becomes necessary for conservators of minors to request additional powers from the court to carryout certain tasks or objectives related to the management of the minor’s property (e.g., selling real estate).

The attorneys at Alford & Burkhart are very well-versed in the processes for establishing a conservatorship for a minor and how to carryout the duties and powers after the conservatorship is established.  Our attorneys routinely participate in the legal proceedings necessary to establish the conservatorship, and also counsel conservators regarding this oftentimes complex role.

 

Our Services Include:

  • Filing Petitions to Establish Conservatorship

  • Filing Petitions to Compromise the Claim of a Minor

  • Filing Petitions for Additional Powers to Conservators

  • Filing Objections to Proceedings

  • Providing Consultation to Conservators

Compromised Claims

A natural guardian may compromise (i.e., settle) a minor’s claim (e.g., personal injury claim) under certain circumstances, but oftentimes court authorization of the compromise is required.  Additionally, Georgia law may require that a conservatorship receive the value of the settled claim.

If a conservator for the minor has been previously appointed, the conservator is the only person who can compromise the minor’s claim.  If no conservator has been appointed and the proposed “gross settlement” of a minor’s claim is $15,000 or less, the natural guardian may compromise the claim without being appointed conservator and without court approval.  If a claim exceeds $15,000, the natural guardian typically must petition the court for approval of the settlement and, usually, a conservatorship of a minor is also required to receive and manage the settlement funds.

Many personal injury attorneys prefer to seek the approval of the probate court when compromising a minor’s claim for personal injuries, regardless of the amount.  A Petition to Compromise a Disputed Claim of a Minor entails an inspection of the minor’s claim, the value of the settlement of that claim, the amount of attorneys’ fees involved, the services of the plaintiff’s attorney, and whether the compromise is in the best interest of the minor child.  Funding companies, such as annuities, may also require such approval before agreeing to provide settlement products.

Alford & Burkhart provides its legal services to individuals, families, and personal injury attorneys in the context of Conservatorships of Minors and Compromised Claims of Minors.  We handle the probate proceedings for personal injury attorneys who often have limited experience in these courts (in comparison, our areas of practice routinely take us into probate courts across metro-Atlanta).  We can also walk unrepresented parents through the processes for settlement approval and conservatorship.