How to Declare an Individual Incompetent in Georgia

By Sharin Griffin
Georgia probate courts are responsible for granting petitions for incompetency.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Declaring an individual incompetent means the person is unable to make decisions or take care of himself without the intervention of a guardian. This is normally done in cases of elderly family members who suffer dementia or mentally challenged adults and children. In Georgia there are certain guidelines for having an individual declared incompetent. Before you can do this, you must be a relative of the person or hold legal power of attorney.

Seek medical evaluation of your loved one. Having solid medical proof of your loved one's mental incompetence is required for Georgia courts to make an informed decision. The doctor may ask to speak to another family member regarding the problems your loved one is facing before a diagnosis can be made.

Seek legal counsel to represent you in court. The Georgia courts will appoint your loved one an attorney. If your loved one is able to hire a private attorney, the lawyer may fight the petition. An elder-law attorney or family law attorney is best equipped to handle these cases.

File a petition for incompetency with the probate court in your county in Georgia. This court is responsible for these types of cases and will assign you a case number and court date to have your loved one declared incompetent and declare a guardian. Submit all medical paperwork with your petition if the court clerk requests it. If you do not have a medical evaluation, you must have a second party, such as a sibling or other family member, who is willing to file the petition with you.

Submit to psychological and medical evaluation as required under Georgia law. Potential guardians must pass these evaluations to ensure that they are able to care for the incapacitated individual both mentally and physically. You will be required to show your evaluation results during the court hearing.

Attend your scheduled hearing. Make sure you have all paperwork pertaining to your loved one's particular situation and any other proof, such as witness statements, that may help you in court. Your lawyer should also have copies of these.

Sign all necessary paperwork once awarded guardianship of your loved one. You must make yourself familiar with your duties, such as inventorying all personal possessions of your loved one and managing all the person's assets. You must stay in constant contact with the Georgia probate court and file quarterly paperwork regarding the handling of your loved one's estate and finances.

About the Author

Sharin Griffin has been a freelance writer since 2009, specializing in health-related articles. She has worked in the health-care industry as a certified nursing assistant and medical technician. Griffin's medical expertise encompasses bariatrics and geriatric care, with an emphasis on general medicine. She is completing an associate degree in health-care administration from Axia University.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article