Theoretically, guardianship is temporary. A guardian is appointed to care for a ward who is incompetent. The health circumstances warranting a guardianship can change, removing the need for someone to make decisions on behalf of the ward.
Against this background, the question arises as to whether a guardian can enter into a pre-dispute arbitration clause, agreeing on behalf of the ward that disputes arising in the future will be arbitrated. The Georgia Supreme Court has answered this question in the affirmative. Reversing the appellate court, the Supreme Court held in CL SNF, LLC v. Fountain that a guardian’s powers encompass such action. Otherwise, as the court noted, “the guardian would be required to return to the probate court for permission to enter into such agreement or, at least, into any unnecessary contractual provisions.”
Discussing the case in an article available at JD Supra, Attorneys Jason Bring, Kara Gordon Silverman and Jerad Rissler of Arnall Golden Gregory explain that, without this power, “guardians would either be unable to execute routine contracts such as telephone, banking, and utility contracts (most of which include arbitration agreements), or they would have to obtain approval from the probate court for each agreement—an unworkable process.”