What to Know about Conservatorships in Virginia
A conservator is someone who is appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs and estate of someone who is incapacitated. This includes managing both real and personal property. In Virginia, an incapacitated person is an adult who was found to be incapable of meeting important personal care requirements or managing their financial affairs and property. This is someone who does not process and evaluate information effectively.
Conservators different from guardians. A guardian for someone who is incapacitated is someone the court appoints to handle the personal affairs of this individual. The guardian would make decisions for the incapacitated regarding their health, safety, care, education, therapeutic treatment, and more.
The lack of mental capacity is not just the result of a string of bad decisions or based on the family not agreeing with the choices the individual makes. Disabling conditions like a stroke or accident can render someone unable to take care of themselves.
Qualifications of a Conservator
In Virginia, a conservator is qualified through the Probate Office. The Clerk of the Circuit Court will see prospective conservators on an appointment basis after the court order has been entered. The appointed conservator will need to pay bond as required and also take an oath. The amount of bond is set forth by the court, and the potential conservator will need to be financially acceptable by the bond company. This means he or she has enough personal assets and no felony convictions, bankruptcies, or personal credit issues that would cause the bonding company to deny them.
There are fees associated with the appointment as well. These are:
- $0 for estates that are $5,000 or less
- $20 for estates that do not exceed $50,000
- $25 for estates less than $100,000
- $30 for estates that are greater than $100,000
Guardians who are appointed to manage the estate of a minor are also subject to a $16 Clerk’s Fee.
If there is a guardian appointed, he or she will keep in regular contact with the incapacitated person to evaluate their needs, limitations, capabilities, etc. The guardian must file regular reports with the Department of Social Services, whereas the conservator has to file their regular reports with the Commissioner of Accounts. Both parties have the duty to try and involve the incapacitated person regularly and let him or her make decisions to the extent they are able to be involved. If the incapacitated person is a veteran, there are special provisions in place regarding appointment of a conservator.
Duties of a Conservator
The conservator has a duty to take care of and preserve both the income and assets of the incapacitated person. The conservator must file the regular accountings with the Commissioner of Accounts. These reports show all the money they had to disburse and what was received during the timeframe.
Virginia Estate Planning Attorney
If you have a loved one who suffered an injury or lacks capacity to make proper decisions about their personal affairs or their finances, you need to speak to a Virginia attorney who has experience with guardianships and conservatorships. Working with an attorney who has experience with these situations is important because there may be other alternatives. Appointing a guardian and/or conservator should be a last resort.
Contact the skilled team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today to schedule a consultation to discuss whether your loved one may need a guardian and/or conservator appointed to manage their affairs.