Legal & Planning Services: Establishing Guardianship.


Hook Law Center can assist you in appointing a guardian as part of your estate plan, should you need care in the future, and can help you pursue guardianship for a loved one.

A guardianship is an arrangement determined by the court which places someone in the position to oversee the care of an incapacitated adult. Incapacitation may occur when someone has cognitive issues due to dementia, a major stroke or severe mental illness, or another condition which affects the person’s decision-making process. A guardian helps make personal decisions, such as decisions regarding medical treatment and residential placement, ensuring that the person in their charge gets adequate medical treatment and care, and personal needs are met. A helpful tool to determine whether you need to proceed with a guardianship is here: ABA Practical Tool for Guardianships.

+How is someone determined to be incapacitated?
An adult is determined to be incapacitated by the court if he or she is incapable of receiving and evaluating information effectively, or if the person cannot adequately respond to events, environments or people to such an extent that the person:

  • Cannot independently meet essential requirements for care, health, safety, or therapeutic needs
  • Cannot provide self support, manage finances or property, and/or provide for legal dependents

Poor judgment or controversial choices are not, on their own, considered sufficient evidence that someone is incapacitated.

An individual’s mental capacity is determined by exam by a medical physician or a psychiatrist, and documentation of the exam findings is provided as evidence to the court.

Work with a Guardianship Lawyer in Virginia

If a guardian also is making financial decisions as appointed by the court, he or she is a conservator – a similar role, which focuses on overseeing estate management and assets.

Pursing guardianship of a loved one, or putting into place a designated guardian as part of a long-term estate plan, is part of a complex, often emotionally-laden process. Let the experienced estate planning attorneys of Hook Law Center guide you through the process.

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