Determine the Amount of the Settlement
The amount of the personal injury settlement in Georgia determines whether the settlement will require Probate Court approval. In some cases, the settlement must be approved by the Probate Court and a Conservator must be appointed for the child.
For Settlements Under $15,000.00
if the gross settlement is for less than $15,000.00, the child's natural guardian may enter into the settlement without being appointed the child's legal conservator and without Probate Court approval of the settlement.
For Settlements Over $15,000 but Reduced by Attorney's Fees to Less than $15,000
When a proposed gross settlement is less than $15,000.00 after attorney's fees and expenses of litigation are deducted, the natural guardian does not need to be appointed as legal conservator but does need to obtain Probate Court approval of the settlement.
For Settlements Over $15,000.00
In cases where the proposed gross settlement amount is more than $15,000.00, after attorney's fees and expenses of litigation are deducted, the natural guardian must file a petition with the Probate Court to be appointed as legal conservator and must obtain approval of the settlement from the appropriate court. Determining the appropriate court for obtaining approval depends upon whether the claim is in suit or is being settled prior to filing a lawsuit. If there is no suit pending, the legal conservator must obtain Probate Court approval of the settlement. If there is a lawsuit pending, the legal conservator must obtain the approval of the trial court where the lawsuit was filed.