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What is the definition of an Incapacitated Adult? 
An adult who has been found by a Court to be incapable of receiving and evaluating information effectively or responding to people, events, or environments to such an extent that the individual lacks the capacity to (i) meet the essential requirements for his health, care, safety, or therapeutic needs without the assistance or protection of a guardian or (ii) manage property or financial affairs or to provide for his or her support or the support of legal dependents without the assistance of a conservator. 

What is the definition of a Conservator? 
A Conservator is an individual who has obtained legal authority to manage the estate and financial affairs of an Incapacitated Adult. 

What is the definition of a Guardian? 
A Guardian is an individual who is appointed by the Court to be responsible for the personal affairs of an Incapacitated Adult, including responsibility for making decisions regarding the person’s support, care, health, safety, habilitation, education, therapeutic treatment, and if not inconsistent with an order of commitment, regarding the person’s residence. 

What is the difference between a Guardian and a Conservator? 
There are several differences between a Guardian and a Conservator; however the primary difference is that a Conservator is responsible for the financial affairs of an Incapacitated Adult whereas the Guardian is only responsible for the personal affairs of an Incapacitated Adult. Additionally, both a Guardian and a Conservator is required to file certain annual reports, however to different entities. 

Can I be appointed as a Conservator even if I have not been appointed as the Incapacitated Adult’s Guardian or vice versa? 
Yes, oftentimes, a Judge will appoint one person as Conservator and another person as Guardian over the Incapacitated Adult. The Judge may also appoint an individual to act in both capacities. 

How do I obtain the legal authority to act as a Conservator or Guardian of an Incapacitated Adult? 
  • Your Conservator and/or Guardian appointment must be made by a Judge of the Circuit Court in the appropriate jurisdiction (The county in which the Incapacitated Adult currently resides).
  • After the Order of Appointment is signed by the Judge, you must then formally qualify before the Clerk of the Circuit Court. (Probate Department)
  • After your Court ordered appointment, AND after you formally qualify before the Clerk, you can then legally assume your duties and responsibilities as Conservator and/or Guardian.

What is the process to become appointed by the Judge as a Conservator and/or Guardian for an Incapacitated Adult? 
  • You must fully comply with all the requirements of the Code of Virginia.
  • You must prepare and file a petition requesting appointment of a Conservator/Guardian at the Clerk of the Circuit Court Civil Intake Department with the appropriate filing fees.
  • Only a Judge can appoint an individual to be a Conservator and/or Guardian of an Incapacitated Adult, therefore, by following the local rules of the Court, you must schedule a Court hearing on the docket.
  • If, at the Court hearing, the Judge grants your Appointment as Conservator and/or Guardian, you must then prepare a Court Order of Appointment for the Judge to sign.
  • After the Court Order of Appointment has been signed by the Judge, you must then schedule an appointment with the Clerk (Probate Department) to formally qualify as the Conservator and/or Guardian. You have no legal authority to act as Conservator/Guardian until you have formally qualified before the Clerk. Your qualification should take place no later than thirty (30) days from the Court Ordered Date of Appointment.
  • It is strongly recommended that you consult with a Virginia Attorney for advice in all Conservatorship and Guardianship matters.

Now that my Order of Appointment as Conservator and/or Guardian has been signed by the Judge, how do I formally qualify before the Clerk? 
You must contact the Probate Department of the Clerk of the Circuit Court to schedule an appointment for your qualification. Appointments are required.

Is there a deadline to qualify before the Clerk? 
You must qualify before the Clerk no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the entry of the Court Order of Appointment. 

Contact UsBill Loy
Probate Manager 
703-777-0272
Email 

Lorrie Gordon 
Sr. Probate Specialist 
703-777-0639
Email

Joy Hayes
Probate Specialist 
703-777-0691
Email

Fax: 703-737-8096 

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Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
By appointment only
Physical Address:
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Attn: Probate Division
18 East Market St.
Leesburg, VA 20176
Mailing Address:
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Attn: Probate Division
P.O. Box 550
Leesburg, VA 20178



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