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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Chesapeake Guardianship/Conservatorship Lawyer

Chesapeake Guardianship/Conservatorship Lawyer

When a person turns 18 years old in Chesapeake, and throughout Virginia, they have an automatic right to make decisions about their own finances, healthcare, residence, and other daily needs. However, in certain instances, a person who is about to turn 18 years old may not have the capacity to make informed decisions, typically due to serious physical or cognitive impairments. Other individuals may also not be able to provide for themselves due to severe illness, injuries, age, or permanent disability.

In these cases, incapacitated adults may require a guardian and/or conservator to make sure they are safe and supported. Below, our Chesapeake guardianship/conservatorship lawyer explains in detail.

What is a Conservator or Guardian?

Guardians in Virginia are individuals appointed by a court to make decisions regarding the personal affairs of an adult who is incapacitated. Conservators are individuals appointed by a court to handle the financial and estate affairs of an adult who is incapacitated. When an incapacitated adult requires both a conservator and guardian, the same person can act in each role. The purpose of both is to ensure the best interests of an incapacitated adult are upheld.

How are Conservators and Guardians Appointed?

Before the court will appoint a guardian, a judge must determine that an adult does not have the capacity to meet the important requirements for their care, health, and/or their safety without the help of a guardian. In order for a court to appoint a conservator, a judge must find that an adult does not have the capacity to manage their financial affairs or property without the help of a conservator.

Both of the above standards are very high. The court will not appoint either if an adult is simply known for making poor decisions. Instead, the court must find that an adult is incapable of making informed decisions for themselves. To determine whether a conservator or guardian should be appointed a licensed professional, such as a mental health provider, must find the adult incapable of providing for themselves or making their own decisions.

Individuals who are allegedly incapacitated will have a guardian ad litem (GAL) appointed to them to represent their best interests in court. Additionally, individuals who are allegedly incapacitated also have the right to an attorney.

Alternatives to Guardianships and Conservatorships

While guardianships and conservatorships are sometimes appropriate, they are extreme measures that take a person’s rights away from them. There may be other options available, such as a durable power of attorney or an advanced medical directive. Both of these documents must be drafted before a person becomes incapacitated.

Our Guardianship/Conservatorship Lawyer in Chesapeake Can Advise on Your Case

It is never easy when someone needs a guardian or conservator. At The Law Office of Angela N. Manz, our Chesapeake guardianship/conservatorship lawyer can advise you of your options and help you determine which one is right for your situation. Call us now at 757-271-6275 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to get the legal advice you need.

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