Autauga County Probate

Conservators & Guardians

Phone

(334) 361-3728

Location

176 W 5th Street, Prattville, AL 36067

Hours

Monday-Friday:
8:30 am - 5 pm

Quick Links

Adoptions

Discover the process for filing an adoption.

Involuntary Commitment

Involuntary commitment is a legal procedure by which a person is placed in the custody of the State Department of Mental Health for treatment.

Conservators & Guardians

Learn about conservators & guardians.

Name Changes

Adult Name Changes Forms and Procedures.

Declaration of Legitimation

Process of declaration of legitimation.

Wills & Instruments

A will is a document which discloses how a person wishes his or her property to be distributed after death.

 CONSERVATORS AND GUARDIANS

Conservators

Conservatorship Checklist:

 

 

Filing Fee:

$75.00.  There is also an initial Guardian Ad Litem fee of $500.00 paid to the court appointed GAL. The final fee ordered will depend on the number of hours expended in the case.  There is also an initial Court Representative of $500.00 paid to the court appointed Court Representative.  The final fee ordered will depend on the number of hours expended in the case. 

WHAT IS A CONSERVATOR?

A conservator is a person who is appointed by the Probate Court to manage and protect the property of a minor or incapacitated person.

WHO IS AN INCAPACITATED PERSON?

A person who is unable to manage property and business affairs because of

  1. Mental illness
  2. Mental deficiency
  3. Physical illness
  4. Infirmities accompanying advanced age
  5. Chronic use of drugs
  6. Chronic intoxication
  7. Confinement
  8. Detention by foreign power
  9. Disappearance

WHO CAN SERVE AS A CONSERVATOR?
A family member or any interested person, with the priorities as follows:

  1. Conservator appointed in another jurisdiction
  2. Person selected by incapacitated person
  3. Person designated by incapacitated person’s power of attorney
  4. Spouse
  5. Adult child
  6. Parent
  7. Relative with whom ward has lived for the last six months
  8. Nominee of person caring for incapacitated person
  9. General Conservator or Sheriff

WHEN CAN A CONSERVATOR BE APPOINTED?

A conservator may be appointed when an incapacitated person

  1. Is unable to manage property and business affairs; and
  2. (a) Has property that will be wasted without proper management; or (b) where funds are needed to support the incapacitated person or one entitled to support from the incapacitated person

WHAT ARE THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF A CONSERVATOR?

  1. Without court authorization the conservator may
    a. invest and reinvest funds
    b. retain assets
    c. receive additions
    d. acquire undivided interest in property
    e. deposit funds in financial institutions
    f. acquire property
    g. dispose of personal property
    h. make repairs to building
    i. enter leases up to 5 years
    j. enter mineral leases
    k. grant options up to one year
    l. vote securities
    m. pay assessments
    n. sell or exercise stock options
    o. deposit stocks and bonds
    p. consent to reorganization, merger or a business
    q. insure assets
    r. borrow to protect estate
    s. settle claims
    t. pay reasonable annual compensation to conservator
    u. pay taxes and expenses
    v. allocate expenses to income
    w. pay sum for benefit of protected person or his family
    x. employ attorneys, accountants
    y. prosecute or defend legal claims
    z. execute and deliver appropriate instruments
    aa. hold securities (court may limit powers of conservator)
  2. With prior court authorization the conservator may
    a. continue or participate in operating business
    b. demolish improvements
    c. dispose of real estate
    d. subdivide, dedicate land
    e. enter leases greater than 5 years
    f. grant an option for more than one year
    g. take an option to acquire property

AM I REQUIRED TO HAVE A LAWYER?

The legal complexity of guardianships and conservatorships normally necessitates having an attorney since the Judge of Probate cannot advise you of the law or provide you with forms.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GUARDIAN AND A CONSERVATOR?

The guardian is a person who looks after the child or incapacitated person and their welfare while a conservator looks after the estate.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOLLOWED IN APPOINTING A  GUARDIAN OR CONSERVATOR FOR AN ADULT?

  1. Petition filed
  2. Appointment of a guardian ad litem
  3. Examination by physician
  4. Appointment of court’s representative
  5. Hearing
  6. Jury at hearing if demanded
  7. Bond for conservator
  8. Order granting petition
  9. Inventory of property for conservator
  10. Letters of guardianship and/or conservatorship

IS A BOND REQUIRED?

Yes, a bond is required for conservators unless the bond requirement was waived in a will or power of attorney.

IS AN INVENTORY REQUIRED?

Each conservator must complete an inventory of the estate immediately and file it with the Probate Court within 45 days after appointment.

ARE ACCOUNTINGS REQUIRED?

Yes, a conservator must give an accounting to the Probate Court at least every three years. The Probate Court may order an accounting more frequently. An accounting is also required upon resignation or removal of the conservator.

 CONSERVATOR’S HANDBOOK (CLICK HERE)  

 

GUARDIANS

Guardianships Checklists

WHAT IS A GUARDIAN:

A guardian is the parent of a minor or someone who has been appointed by the Probate Court to be responsible for the personal care of an individual.

WHAT IS A WARD?

Legal name for a person for whom a guardian has been appointed.

WHO CAN BE A GUARDIAN FOR AN ADULT?

Any qualified person may be appointed. However, the law establishes the following priorities:

  1. Person named in a durable power of attorney
  2. Spouse or spouse’s nominee
  3. Adult child
  4. Parent or parent’s nominee
  5. Relative with whom person has lived the prior 6 months
  6. Nominee of caretaker of person

VOLUNTEER GUARDIAN PROGRAM:

The Autauga County Probate Office currently does not participate in the Volunteer Guardianship Program.

WHO CAN BE GUARDIAN FOR A CHILD?

The Probate Court may appoint any person who will act in the best interest of the minor. However, if the minor is 14 years old or older, the minor’s nominee must be appointed unless the appointment is contrary to the minor’s best interest. Also, a parental nomination has priority.

CAN A PARENT APPOINT A GUARDIAN?

Yes, in a will a parent may appoint a guardian for a minor child or for an unmarried incapacitated child.

CAN A SPOUSE APPOINT A GUARDIAN?

Yes, in a will a person may appoint a guardian for his or her incapacitated spouse.

WHAT ARE THE POWERS OF A GUARDIAN?

  1. Must assume responsibilities of a parent regarding support, care and education
  2. Must become personally acquainted with ward
  3. Must take reasonable care of ward’s personal effects
  4. Must apply available money for current needs or health, support, education and maintenance
  5. Must conserve excess money
  6. Must report the condition of the ward to the Probate Court
  7. May receive limited funds for support of ward
  8. May take custody of ward and establish a home
  9. May compel payment of support
  10. May consent to medical care
  11. May consent to marriage or adoption
  12. May delegate certain responsibilities to the ward for the decision making

(Probate Court may limit powers of guardianship)

WHEN DOES A GUARDIANSHIP END?

  1. Upon death
  2. Upon resignation of the guardian
  3. Upon adoption of the minor
  4. Upon marriage of the minor
  5. Upon minor becoming an adult
  6. When ward’s incapacity is terminated

(Probate Court may limit powers of guardianship)

AM I REQUIRED TO HAVE A LAWYER?

The legal complexity of guardianships and conservatorships normally necessitates having an attorney since the Judge of Probate cannot advise you of the law or provide you with forms.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GUARDIAN AND A CONSERVATOR?

The guardian is a person who looks after the child or incapacitated person and their welfare while a conservator is responsible for safeguarding the assets of a child or incapacitated person.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOLLOWED IN APPOINTING A GUARDIAN OR CONSERVATOR FOR AN ADULT?

  1. Petition filed
  2. Appointment of a guardian ad litem
  3. Examination by physician
  4. Appointment of Probate Court’s representative
  5. Hearing
  6. Jury at hearing if demanded
  7. Bond for conservator
  8. Order granting petition
  9. Inventory of property for conservator
  10. Letters of guardianship and/or conservatorship

IS A BOND REQUIRED?

No.

IS AN INVENTORY REQUIRED?

No.

ARE ACCOUNTINGS REQUIRED?

No.

GUARDIAN’S CARE PLAN & ANNUAL REPORT INFORMATION & FORMS

The Probate Court requires guardians of adults to file a Care Plan, due within 45 days of appointment, and Annual Reports, due every 12 months (anniversary month of appointment). The following forms in PDF format can be downloaded and used for this purpose. Please note that failure to file these reports will be grounds to terminate the appointment of the guardian. For more information, the guardian should contact his/her attorney.

    Guardian Care Plan   
    Annual Status Report of Guardian
    
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THIS INFORMATION PAGE, WHICH IS BASED ON ALABAMA LAW, IS TO INFORM AND NOT TO ADVISE. NO PERSON SHOULD EVER APPLY OR INTERPRET ANY LAW WITHOUT THE AID OF A LAWYER WHO ANALYZES THE FACTS, BECAUSE THE FACTS MAY CHANGE THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW.

 

 

 

Phone

(334) 361-3728

Location

176 W 5th Street, Prattville, AL 36067

Hours

Monday-Friday:
8:30 am - 5 pm