Virginia circuit courts have the power to appoint guardians and conservators for people in certain situations. A “guardian” is a person appointed by the court who is responsible for the personal affairs of an incapacitated person, including responsibility for making decisions regarding the person’s support, care, health, safety, habilitation, education, treatment, and residence. A “conservator” is a person appointed by the court to manage the personal property, real estate, and financial affairs of an incapacitated person.
To have a guardian or a conservator appointed, a legal proceeding must be commenced in circuit court. This is commenced by filing a “petition” for the appointment of a guardian or conservator. Any person can file the petition. The court then appoints a “guardian ad litem” for the incapacitated person. The guardian ad litem must visit with the person, advise them of their rights, and generally report to the court as to whether the guardianship or conservatorship makes sense. Ultimately, a hearing is conducted, at which time the judge decides whether to grant the petition. Prior to the hearing, an “evaluation report” is filed under seal with the court. The evaluation report is prepared by a licensed physician or psychologist who must report on the condition of the person who is alleged to be incapacitated.
At The Mottley Law Firm, we have experience in filing petitions for the appointment of a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated person.