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Guardianships and Conservatorships Attorney in Arlington, Virginia

Sometimes a family member or other loved one is in need of help managing their financial, medical, and personal affairs. If the person has the mental capacity to understand the basics of their finances or medical needs, they should turn to Epting Law, PLLC for reliable estate planning services. However, if the person does not have such mental capacity, they are not legally capable of executing a power of attorney or other estate planning documents. A lack of capacity can be due to any number of reasons, including dementia, schizophrenia, drug addiction, injury, or other mental disability, including disabilities present from birth. Guardianship and conservatorship attorney Kyle Epting is here to help you and your loved ones get the help that you need to live a happy life. If a member of your family needs extra care, get in contact with Kyle to put a plan in place. He provides his legal services to the communities of Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact him today to schedule a free consultation. 

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In such cases, court proceedings are required to appoint a guardian and/or conservator to make these decisions. The person requesting to be appointed as guardian and/or conservator can be a son or daughter, parent, family member, or friend. Parents of children with mental disabilities will be required to obtain guardian and/or conservatorship to continue making medical, personal, and financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated child once they reach adulthood. A guardian is a court-appointed agent entitled and entrusted to make decisions related to the incapacitated person's medical, housing, and other personal needs. A conservator is a court-appointed agent entitled and entrusted to make decisions related to the incapacitated person's finances and assets. To figure out what course of action is right for you and your loved ones, get in contact with Attorney Epting today to schedule a free consultation on your guardianship and conservatorship case. You are able to meet him over the phone, email, or video chat.

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Appointing a Guardian or Conservator

To appoint a guardian or conservator, a petition must be filed with the court. Notice is required to be given to the allegedly incapacitated person (also called a respondent during the court proceedings) and family members. A guardian ad litem, an attorney who does an investigation and makes a report to the court in the best interests of the respondent, will be appointed. If the respondent does not dispute the need for a guardian or conservator, and the guardian ad litem agrees to the appointment, then there will be a hearing with the court to enter an order appointing a guardian and/or conservator. If the respondent disputes the need for a guardian, there will be a trial in the court to determine if the respondent is incapacitated and in need of a guardian and/or conservator, and who should take those roles. 

A respondent is entitled to protection of his or her due process rights. If a respondent does not believe he or she is in need of a guardian or conservator, the respondent has the right to hire an attorney or request the court appoint one to defend against the proceeding. Even if a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary, a respondent who hires an attorney to defend the proceedings can often negotiate the terms of the guardianship and conservatorship and have a say in the amount of control the guardian or conservator has over their lives.

If there is a dispute among friends or family members (also called "interested persons") regarding who should be appointed as guardian or conservator, such interested persons may need to hire an attorney to resolve the dispute within the proceeding, and make sure an appropriate and responsible person is making decisions for their loved one.

Once a guardian and conservator are appointed, there are duties associated with those roles. The guardian must comply with any specific duties in the court's order, as well as those enumerated in the law, to make decisions about the ward's medical, housing, and personal matters in the best interest of the incapacitated person (now known as the ward). To the extent the ward can participate in those decisions, the ward should be consulted. The conservator is responsible for managing the ward's assets in the best interest of the ward. The conservator will be required to post a surety bond, which is essentially a promise to repay any funds that are mishandled, backed up by a surety company (which is a type of insurance). The surety will require payment of an annual premium, which is paid from the assets of the ward. The conservator will be required to file regular accountings with the court, informing the court of every transaction made in the conservatorship.  

Do you need to name a guardian or conservator for a loved one? Do you need to intervene or defend in an ongoing proceeding? Contact Attorney Kyle Epting in Arlington, Virginia, today and schedule a free consultation of your guardianship/conservatorship case. 

Trusted Legal Services for Families in the DC Metro Area

If you or a loved one resides in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., get in contact with Epting Law, PLLC today and schedule a free consultation for your guardianship/conservatorship case. Lead attorney Kyle Epting is here to help you and your family with various estate planning needs and wants to help you create a plan that works for you.