In Virginia, a guardian is a person appointed by a judge after a formal court proceeding who is charged with making all the personal, health issues, and non-financial decisions for an incapacitated individual.
A conservator is a person appointed by a judge after a formal court proceeding who is charged with taking control of and managing the estate and finances for an incapacitated individual.
A guardianship or conservatorship is needed in situations where a person is incapacitated and there is no power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, or a trust-based plan to care for his or her needs.
When is someone considered incapacitated?
There are three main instances when someone is considered incapacitated:
In order to get a guardianship and conservatorship, a petition is filed asking the court to grant the necessary powers.
After the petition is filed, the clerk’s office appoints a guardian ad litem. This is an attorney appointed by the court to protect the rights of the person for whom a guardianship or/and conservatorship is sought.
The guardian ad litem does this by meeting with the person prior to the formal hearing, explaining the process, assessing the situation, and then making a recommendation to the judge. A guardian ad litem is needed even if the incapacitated person is in a persistent vegetative state. Only an attorney certified by the courts can serve as a guardian ad litem.
In Fairfax County the process takes 3 to 4 weeks. In Loudoun County they hold the hearing once a month. In an emergency, it is possible to get the court to hear the matter on a different date.
Rhonda is an experienced Fairfax attorney who represents clients seeking guardianship and/or conservatorship of individuals who cannot manage their personal and/or financial affairs. She also assists family members in fulfilling the duties imposed by these new roles.
Rhonda is a skilled and zealous advocate in the courtroom. She is also a sensitive and compassionate counselor committed to working through the myriad problems that arise during guardianship and/or conservatorship proceedings.
Contact Rhonda today if you have questions about guardianship and conservatorship issues.