We Help Families with Guardianships and Conservatorships in Hampton Roads.
There may come a day when a person is no longer able to manage their own affairs. This is a very sensitive and challenging time for a family. In Virginia, guardianships and conservatorships are tools that allow a trusted person to take over the legal and financial affairs of a vulnerable person. Guardianships and conservatorships and the legal process to put one in place are notoriously complex. Navigating the law can be a burden.
At David Burley Law, our Hampton guardianships/conservatorships attorney is a compassionate, reliable advocate for vulnerable people and their families. We understand the deep emotional and logistical challenges that come with setting up a guardianship or conservatorship. David takes a holistic approach to representation. Our firm will work collaboratively with you and your family to make sure that you know your rights and are in the best position to protect your loved ones.
Our legal team handles guardianship and conservatorship cases with care, sensitivity, and personal attention. If you have questions about setting up a guardianship or conservatorship, we are more than happy to get you answers. To arrange a confidential initial appointment with an experienced Virginia guardianships and conservatorships lawyer, please call our law office today or reach out to us directly through our website.
A Summary of Virginia’s Guardianship and Conservatorship Laws
A court will only put a guardianship or conservatorship in place if it is necessary and in the best interests of the ward (incapacitated person). The legal definition of incapacity is a little bit more complicated than many people realize. An individual may be considered an incapacitated person by Virginia statute if he or she is unable to manage personal, financial, and other affairs due to a medical condition. The circumstances trigger guardianship and conservatorship laws to provide for the needs of these individuals and protect their interests. As an overview:
- A guardian may be appointed by a court to handle personal and medical care for the incapacitated person, sometimes referred to as the ward.
- A judge may name a custodian to act for the incapacitated person with respect to financial affairs.
- The guardian and conservator may be the same person, but separate parties could be appointed by the court. For instance, a ward with substantial assets may need the services of a more sophisticated conservator, while a family member could act as guardian for caretaking purposes.
- The guardian and/or conservator essentially steps into the shoes of the incapacitated person for legal purposes, making decisions and engaging in tasks for the ward as required by law.
What You Need to Know About Court Proceedings and Administration in Virginia
If you are considering filing a petition to get a guardianship or conservatorship, you can benefit from seeking professional guidance. It is crucial that the petition is done properly. Even a relatively small mistake could cause a delay or denial. There are two legal issues that are paramount during the early stages of a guardianship and conservatorship case. A person who files a petition to initiate proceedings must allege that:
- There is a Virginia resident who meets the definition of an incapacitated person and needs someone to act as guardian and/or conservator.
- Someone, whether the petitioner or another entity, should be appointed as guardian and/or conservator for the ward.
The alleged ward, as respondent, will have the opportunity to address the petition. In some cases, this individual may dispute the allegations or argue that the proposed guardian or conservator should NOT be appointed. Depending on the specifics, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem to act as the “eyes and ears” of the court in guiding its decision. Once the hearing on the petition concludes and a guardian and/or custodian is appointed, that person is responsible for exercising the rights and meeting the responsibilities of the ward. Some of the duties in a guardianship and conservatorship case involve:
- Gathering and creating an itemized list of the incapacitated person’s assets;
- Applying for and managing any public assistance the ward is entitled to by law, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, Medicaid, and Medicare;
- Paying creditors and fulfilling any obligations incurred by the incapacitated person;
- Managing the individual’s health care needs, which may include decisions regarding medical treatment or making arrangements for care in an assisted living facility; and,
- Preparing and filing an annual report regarding the ward’s medical condition, residential arrangements, income, and expenditures.
You Can Trust David Burley Law for Help with a Guardianship/Conservatorship
We know how difficult it can be to try to help a vulnerable family member or loved one. Navigating the legal process is often overwhelming. Our goal is to relieve the stress and confusion so that you and your family can find a clear path forward.
At David Burley Law, we are prepared to assist with all aspects of the guardianship and conservatorship process. If you are the petitioner, we can help collect evidence regarding the ward’s medical condition, prepare the necessary forms, and advise you during the initial hearing. We will follow up by guiding you in your role as the incapacitated person’s guardian and conservator.
David also represents respondents, so we are ready to defend allegations of incapacity and demonstrate your ability to make responsible personal and financial decisions. We also counsel family members regarding questions, concerns, and other issues that arise through the legal process.
Call Our Hampton, VA Guardianships and Conservatorships Attorney Today
At David Burley Law, our Virginia estate planning attorney has the skills and experience to help you and your family with guardianships and conservatorships. We are committed to providing compassionate, personalized representation to our clients. If you have any questions or concerns about guardianships or conservatorships in Virginia, let us be your resource. Contact our firm today for a strictly confidential, no obligation initial consultation. From our law office in Hampton, we serve communities throughout Hampton Roads, including the Peninsula and the South Side.