What is a conservatorship for a minor? Do you have to have one? Or, is there an alternative?
In this post, we will answer these questions and more about this confusing topic.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group. At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored. Everything discussed in this post is for general information and is not legal advice – for specific information about your situation, please go here to request a complimentary consultation.
A conservatorship for a minor is a court supervised plan to manage the assets of a minor until he or she turns 18. The conservator is a person appointed by the court to hold and manage the property. While the conservator is often a natural parent, that not always the case and another family member (or even the county conservator) can serve in that role.
A conservatorship is necessary under Georgia law when a minor is going to inherit more than $15,000. The reason for this is that minors are not allowed to own property. But, the minor’s parent or guardian is permitted to hold up to $15,000 for the benefit of the minor as a custodian. When the amount of property due to a minor exceeds that threshold, then a conservatorship is required. Unfortunately, there is no way around this requirement.
To establish a conservatorship, a petition must be filed with the probate court. Once a conservator is appointed, he or she is required to file an initial inventory with the court accounting for all of the assets held by the conservatorship. Each year afterward, the conservator must file an annual return updating the inventory, along with an asset management plan of expected expenses.
Conservatorships are very restrictive. For example, the conservator cannot spend any money without court permission. In addition, the conservator is severely limited in how the funds can be invested. For the most part, the conservator is limited to investing in government backed bonds. While this is often frustrating, the law is more concerned with preserving principle than growing it.
For more information about this and other probate topics, please go to GPLG.com/Handbook to download a complimentary copy of our Georgia Probate Handbook, written by inheritance lawyers. You’ll learn the key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.
You also can reach out to our office at (770) 796-4582 to set up a consultation.
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