A guardianship proceeding is a matter during which a Court appoints an individual or an approved public charity to be a decision-maker for an incapacitated adult. A conservator may also be appointed to make financial decisions for the incapacitated adult.

Guardianship proceedings become necessary in three situations:

  • an adult develops an incapacity and does not have a power of attorney and advance medical directive
  • an adult develops an incapacity and their estate plan is insufficient to protect him or her
  • a special needs child is getting ready to reach adulthood. Guardianships are considered a last resort to protect an incapacitated adult because many rights may be lost during the process

Effective this July, Virginia has implemented several changes to its guardianship procedures. The changes include creating temporary guardianship appointments and the requirement for the guardian ad litem (the attorney appointed to represent the interests of the adult) to review a student’s IEP. These changes are part of an ongoing trend in the legislature to increase protections and preserve the rights of persons with disabilities. They increase flexibility in the appointment process so that a guardianship can be tailored to the adults’ specific circumstances. This is especially important for parents of special needs adult children who wish to give their children as much independence as possible.

If you have questions about a guardianship and conservatorship appointment, call 757-722-0611 today to schedule your consultation.

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