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By Vanessa Macias Stillman

As discussed in previous posts, for the purposes of guardianship and conservatorship, an “incapacitated person” means 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 provide for his support or for the support of his legal dependents without the assistance or protection of a conservator.

A Court must find that a person is an “incapacitated person” in order to appoint a guardian or conservator. In Virginia, an incapacitated person, their guardian or conservator, or any other person may later petition the Court to modify or terminate a guardianship or conservatorship should circumstances change. See Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-2012. Upon the petition of one of those parties, or upon motion of the Court, the Court may (i) declare the incapacitated person restored to capacity; (ii) modify the type of appointment or areas of protection, management, or assistance previously granted or require a new bond; (iii) terminate the guardianship or conservatorship; (iv) order removal of the guardian or conservator; or (v) order other appropriate relief.

If it is in the best interests of the incapacitated person, an order appointing a guardian or conservator may be revoked, modified, or terminated if the Court finds any of the following:

  • The incapacitated person is no longer in need of the assistance of protection of a guardian or conservator;
  • Based on the incapacitated person’s current needs, the extent of the protection, management or assistance previously granted is either excessive or insufficient;
  • The incapacitated person’s capacity to manage her own estate and finances or to provide for her health, care, or safety has changed so as to warrant such action; or
  • Circumstances are such that the guardianship or conservatorship is no longer necessary or is insufficient.

A significant change in an incapacitated person’s circumstances may warrant modification, revocation, or termination of a guardianship and/or conservatorship order. If you think it may be time to revoke, modify, or terminate a guardianship or conservatorship, you should seek the assistance of experienced counsel who can guide you through the process and let you know what to expect.