Guardians and Conservators

What is a Guardian and Conservator?

Guardian:  A person appointed by the court who is responsible for the personal affairs of a minor or an incapacitated person. A guardian is responsible for making decisions regarding the minor or incapacitated person's support, care, health, safety, ability to dress themselves, education, therapeutic treatment, and if not in keeping with an order of commitment, the place where they live.  A guardian may be full, limited, or for a short period of time, depending upon the need and order of the court.

Conservator: A person appointed by the court who is responsible for managing the estate and financial affairs of an incapacitated person. Either a conservator or guardian may be full, limited, or for a short period of time, depending upon the court's order.

Where to Begin: Steps to becoming a Guardian or Conservator?

The Clerk does NOT have any forms for the filing of any legal court documents (i.e., petitions, orders, decrees, etc.) The only forms the Clerk DOES have available are the forms used AFTER the appointment AND qualification processes have occurred. Due to the complex nature involved, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a Virginia attorney for legal advice. You must fully comply with all the requirements of the Code of Va. Code § 64.2-2000 et seq., which includes the following:

Petition: Any person may file a petition with a Virginia Circuit court stating that a Virginia resident needs a guardian or conservator to manage some or all his/her affairs. This person is called the petitioner. The person claimed in the petition to need a Guardian, or a Conservator is called the respondent. The petition must be filed in the Circuit court for the city or county in which the respondent lives or where he/she lived immediately before moving to a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other institution.

Guardian Ad Litem: The Judge must appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate the statements in the petition and file a report with the Court. The Guardian Ad Litem does not represent either the petitioner or the respondent. The respondent may hire his/her own attorney.

Evidence: The petitioner must provide evidence that the respondent is incapacitated and needs the assistance of a Guardian or Conservator. 

Hearing: The petitioner must schedule a Court hearing with the Judge by following the local Court rules.

Court Order: Only a Judge can appoint a Conservator and/or Guardian. If, at the Court hearing, the Judge grants the Appointment as Conservator and/or Guardian, the petitioner or their attorney must prepare an order of appointment for the Judge to sign.

Qualification: After the Judge signs the order of appointment, the petitioner must formally qualify before the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the order of appointment was entered. The petitioner has no legal authority to act as Guardian/Conservator until he/she has formally qualified before the Clerk.

Guardian and Conservator Periodic Review Hearings-New as of July 1, 2023

Set in order of appointment, first hearing within a year. Subsequent hearings every/within three years. Court may waive review hearings; explanation will be included in order. However, the court may not waive the initial hearing if a hospital, convalescent home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, or a health care provider.

Any person may file a petition for review - CC-1646 Petition for Review Hearing (PDF).

Guardian Restricted Communication or Interaction-New as of July 1, 2023

Authorizes the Guardian to restrict communication or interaction for the wellbeing of the incapacitated person. The Guardian provides notice to the restricted person, incapacitated person, Circuit Court, Department of Social Services, and facility of incapacitated person - CC-1645 Notice of Restriction by Guardian (PDF).