If an incapacitated person cannot handle their own essential matters, their family members may step in and petition for guardianship. Legal issues in guardianship cases fall under the term “contested guardianship,” and may include anything from examining less restrictive alternatives to objections against the person who wishes to serve as the legal guardian.
When guardianship cases get complicated, you need reliable legal help from an experienced elder law and estate attorney. Call our team at Commonwealth Life and Legacy Counsel at (434) 589-2958 to discuss your contested guardianship case in Central Virginia. If you are located in or near Powhatan, Virginia, call (804) 598-1348.
Guardianship or Conservatorship Procedure in Virginia
An incapacitated or elderly adult who can’t make decisions about their medical care, living arrangements, or personal matters may need a legal guardian. Persons who struggle with handling their finances may need a conservator.
Any person, usually a family member, may petition for guardianship through a local circuit court (because there is no separate probate court in Virginia).
After receiving the petition and giving notice to the interested parties for a hearing, the court determines whether the allegedly incapacitated person (the respondent) needs guardianship and who should serve as their guardian.
Grounds for Contested Guardianship
Guardianship and conservatorship conflicts may arise in many situations, such as:
- The respondent objects to the petition and claims they don’t need a guardian
- The respondent requests a less restrictive guardianship arrangement—for example, limited guardianship or conservatorship
- The petition for guardianship clashes with an existing medical directive or power of attorney
- Several potential co-guardians disagree over the best way to handle the respondent’s medical care or finances
- Family members object to the person filing for guardianship on grounds like financial irresponsibility or past criminal convictions
- Family members accuse an existing guardian or conservator of violating their fiduciary duty
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help with Contested Guardianship
A guardianship procedure is complex enough even without any unusual obstacles. In contested guardianship cases, working with an experienced estate and elder law attorney is indispensable.
Our skilled guardianship lawyers can:
- Help you understand your legal options, rights, and interests under Virginia’s guardianship laws
- Gather and present evidence relevant to your case, such as showcasing why the court should appoint you as a legal guardian
- Negotiate with other interested parties and help you mitigate conflict
- Represent you in court if negotiations fail
- Protect you from false allegations of misconduct if you are an existing guardian
Our team at Commonwealth Life and Legacy Counsel can represent any side of a contested guardianship case, whether you are one of several possible guardians or a person protesting against the need for guardianship.
Commonwealth Life and Legacy Counsel: Handling Contested Guardianship Legal Cases in Central Virginia and Powhatan
Does conflict over guardianship threaten to break up your family and swallow up your time and energy? Our dedicated and sensitive attorneys of Commonwealth Life and Legacy Counsel with offices in Zion Crossroads and Powhatan, Virginia, can streamline your contested guardianship case, make sure you avoid legal pitfalls, and help you negotiate a reasonable compromise with family members.