Guardians and conservators are appointed to protect incapacitated individuals—that is, a person who cannot make decisions without assistance. Only a Circuit Court judge can legally decide that a person is incapacitated and, if so, appoint a guardian and/or conservator to act on the individual’s behalf.
It is important to note that a guardian’s authority can be rather limited or very broad. In general, a guardian will make personal and health care decisions. However, the guardian may also be responsible for other personal decisions, such as whether the incapacitated individual can have visitors or attend certain social gatherings. The extent of the guardian’s authority is set forth in the Circuit Court judge’s order.
In the state of Virginia, a conservator is responsible for managing an individual’s financial affairs and property. The conservator’s authority to make decisions may be limited, depending on the incapacitated person’s particular situation and needs.
What you must understand about the appointment of a guardian or a conservator is that it restricts or even negates a person’s right to make personal decisions. Our Virginia guardianship/conservatorship attorneys can help you decide whether this is the best course of action in your particular situation. We can also show you less restrictive alternatives that can protect your interests in advance should you become incapacitated in the future. We invite you to contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your unique needs and goals.