The effects of illness, disability, and age can sometimes make it impossible for a senior to safely direct their own personal or financial affairs. When this happens, and a Virginia circuit court finds a person incapacitated, it can appoint a guardian to manage matters for them.
While the individual appointed to serve as guardian for an incapacitated adult is often a family member or close friend, there are times when this may not be possible or when it would not be in the senior's best interest. Professional guardians are equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to handle the complex issues involved in adult guardianships.
If you are considering taking advantage of professional guardianship services, here's what you need to know about what Cucinelli Geiger, PC's exceptional team of elder law and fiduciary attorneys can do for you.
Guardianship vs. Conservatorship
Guardians are appointed to handle personal matters, while conservators manage financial affairs. When incapacitated seniors need someone to direct both types of affairs, the court can appoint separate individuals to serve as guardian and conservator or one individual or organization to fill both roles. As professional fiduciaries, our skilled attorneys can adeptly assist you in whatever capacity you require.
Guardian Duties and Responsibilities
Serving as a guardian or conservator for an elderly friend or loved one can be a tedious and time-consuming job. Here are just a few examples of tasks these roles can entail:
- Maintaining contact with the incapacitated person to understand their needs, capabilities, and limitations, visiting as often as necessary
- Determining where the person will live and monitoring their residence
- Applying for and managing government benefits
- Providing consent for medical treatments
- Providing consent for non-medical services, such as counseling
- Acting as a representative payee for Social Security benefits
- Managing their social environment and opportunities
- Making end-of-life care decisions
- Handling finances
- Making investment decisions
- Collecting debts and other forms of income
- Paying bills and taxes
- Managing real estate and other types of personal property
- Keeping records of income and expenditures
- Requesting court approval before selling, donating, transferring, or mortgaging property
- Providing a complete financial accounting to the court at least annually
- Always acting in the best interests of the incapacitated ward
Acting as a guardian or conservator requires a considerable investment of time and energy, can strain relationships with loved ones, or get in the way of career or other important family obligations. Before agreeing to serve in these roles, it's important to be honest with yourself and your loved ones about whether you're up to the challenge.
When to Consider a Professional Guardian
There are a number of instances in which a professional may be a better choice to be a guardian than a friend or family member, such as when:
- The incapacitated senior has no close family in the area
- The senior is estranged from their family
- Family members or friends are unsuitable due to certain types of uncontrolled mental illnesses, immaturity or financial irresponsibility, addiction, or pressing career or family obligations
Whatever your reasons for considering professional guardian services, you've come to the right firm for assistance.
What Our Professional Fiduciaries Can Do
At Cucinelli Geiger, our professional fiduciaries can serve as trustee, executor, guardian, conservator, or power of attorney for you and your loved ones, assisting with:
- Paying bills
- Closing or transferring accounts
- Preparing court inventories and accountings
- Coordinating the preparation of tax returns
- Drafting guardian reports
- Much more
Regardless of whether you need someone to advise you on the completion of each task or would like our seasoned professionals to handle everything from A to Z, we're here when you need us.
Schedule a Consultation
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a member of our nationally recognized legal team. We look forward to discussing how we can serve you.