Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 64.2. Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries
5/23/2019

Part D. Guardianship of Incapacitated Persons.

Chapter 20. Guardianship and Conservatorship.

Article 1. Appointment.

§ 64.2-2000. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Advance directive" shall have the same meaning as provided in the Health Care Decisions Act (§ 54.1-2981 et seq.).

"Conservator" means a person appointed by the court who is responsible for managing the estate and financial affairs of an incapacitated person and, where the context plainly indicates, includes a "limited conservator" or a "temporary conservator." The term includes (i) a local or regional program designated by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as a public conservator pursuant to Article 6 (§ 51.5-149 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5 or (ii) any local or regional tax-exempt charitable organization established pursuant to § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to provide conservatorial services to incapacitated persons. Such tax-exempt charitable organization shall not be a provider of direct services to the incapacitated person. If a tax-exempt charitable organization has been designated by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as a public conservator, it may also serve as a conservator for other individuals.

"Estate" includes both real and personal property.

"Facility" means a state or licensed hospital, training center, psychiatric hospital, or other type of residential or outpatient mental health or mental retardation facility. When modified by the word "state," "facility" means a state hospital or training center operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, including the buildings and land associated with it.

"Guardian" means a person appointed by the court who is responsible for the personal affairs of an incapacitated person, 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 involuntary admission, residence. Where the context plainly indicates, the term includes a "limited guardian" or a "temporary guardian." The term includes (i) a local or regional program designated by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as a public guardian pursuant to Article 6 (§ 51.5-149 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5 or (ii) any local or regional tax-exempt charitable organization established pursuant to § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to provide guardian services to incapacitated persons. Such tax-exempt charitable organization shall not be a provider of direct services to the incapacitated person. If a tax-exempt charitable organization has been designated by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as a public guardian, it may also serve as a guardian for other individuals.

"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 finding that the individual displays poor judgment alone shall not be considered sufficient evidence that the individual is an incapacitated person within the meaning of this definition. A finding that a person is incapacitated shall be construed as a finding that the person is "mentally incompetent" as that term is used in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia and Title 24.2 unless the court order entered pursuant to this chapter specifically provides otherwise.

"Individual receiving services" or "individual" means a current direct recipient of public or private mental health, developmental, or substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation, or habilitation services and includes the terms "consumer," "patient," "resident," "recipient," or "client."

"Limited conservator" means a person appointed by the court who has only those responsibilities for managing the estate and financial affairs of an incapacitated person as specified in the order of appointment.

"Limited guardian" means a person appointed by the court who has only those responsibilities for the personal affairs of an incapacitated person as specified in the order of appointment.

"Mental illness" means a disorder of thought, mood, emotion, perception, or orientation that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to address basic life necessities and requires care and treatment for the health, safety, or recovery of the individual or for the safety of others.

"Property" includes both real and personal property.

"Respondent" means an allegedly incapacitated person for whom a petition for guardianship or conservatorship has been filed.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.6; 1998, cc. 582, 787; 2004, c. 858; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1000; 2006, c. 724; 2012, cc. 614, 803, 835.

§ 64.2-2001. Filing of petition; jurisdiction; instructions to be provided.

A. A petition for the appointment of a guardian or conservator shall be filed with the circuit court of the county or city in which the respondent is a resident or is located or in which the respondent resided immediately prior to becoming a patient, voluntarily or involuntarily, in a hospital, including a hospital licensed by the Department of Health pursuant to § 32.1-123, or a resident in a nursing facility or nursing home, convalescent home, assisted living facility as defined in § 63.2-100, or any other similar institution or, if the petition is for the appointment of a conservator for a nonresident with property in the state, in the city or county in which the respondent's property is located.

B. Article 2 (§ 64.2-2105 et seq.) of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act provides the exclusive jurisdictional basis for a court of the Commonwealth to appoint a guardian or conservator for an adult.

C. Where the petition is brought by a parent or guardian of a respondent who is under the age of 18, or by any other person and there is no living parent or guardian of a respondent who is under the age of 18, the petition may be filed no earlier than six months prior to the respondent's eighteenth birthday. Where such a petition is brought, a court may enter an order appointing the parent or guardian of the respondent, or other person if there is no living parent or guardian, as guardian or conservator prior to the respondent's eighteenth birthday. Such order shall specify whether it takes effect immediately upon entry or on the respondent's eighteenth birthday. Where the petition is brought by any other person and there is a living parent or guardian of a respondent who is under the age of 18, the petition may be filed no earlier than the respondent's eighteenth birthday.

D. Instructions regarding the duties, powers, and liabilities of guardians and conservators shall be provided to each clerk of court by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, and the clerk shall provide such information to each guardian and conservator upon notice of appointment.

E. The circuit court in which the proceeding is first commenced may order a transfer of venue if it would be in the best interest of the respondent.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.7; 2001, c. 274; 2002, c. 736; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1001; 2006, c. 552; 2011, c. 518; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523; 2016, c. 31.

§ 64.2-2002. Who may file petition; contents.

A. Any person may file a petition for the appointment of a guardian, a conservator, or both.

B. A petition for the appointment of a guardian, a conservator, or both, shall state the petitioner's name, place of residence, post office address, and relationship, if any, to the respondent and, to the extent known as of the date of filing, shall include the following:

1. The respondent's name, date of birth, place of residence or location, post office address, and the sealed filing of the social security number;

2. The basis for the court's jurisdiction under the provisions of Article 2 (§ 64.2-2105 et seq.) of Chapter 21;

3. The names and post office addresses of the respondent's spouse, adult children, parents, and adult siblings or, if no such relatives are known to the petitioner, at least three other known relatives of the respondent, including stepchildren. If a total of three such persons cannot be identified and located, the petitioner shall certify that fact in the petition, and the court shall set forth such finding in the final order;

4. The name, place of residence or location, and post office address of the individual or facility, if any, that is responsible for or has assumed responsibility for the respondent's care or custody;

5. The name, place of residence or location, and post office address of any agent designated under a durable power of attorney or an advance directive of which the respondent is the principal, and any guardian, committee, or conservator currently acting, whether in this state or elsewhere, and the petitioner shall attach a copy of any such durable power of attorney, advance directive, or order appointing the guardian, committee, or conservator, if available;

6. The type of guardianship or conservatorship requested and a brief description of the nature and extent of the respondent's alleged incapacity;

7. When the petition requests appointment of a guardian, a brief description of the services currently being provided for the respondent's health, care, safety, or rehabilitation and, where appropriate, a recommendation as to living arrangements and treatment plan;

8. If the appointment of a limited guardian is requested, the specific areas of protection and assistance to be included in the order of appointment and, if the appointment of a limited conservator is requested, the specific areas of management and assistance to be included in the order of appointment;

9. The name and post office address of any proposed guardian or conservator or any guardian or conservator nominated by the respondent and that person's relationship to the respondent;

10. The native language of the respondent and any necessary alternative mode of communication;

11. A statement of the financial resources of the respondent that shall, to the extent known, list the approximate value of the respondent's property and the respondent's anticipated annual gross income, other receipts, and debts;

12. A statement of whether the petitioner believes that the respondent's attendance at the hearing would be detrimental to the respondent's health, care, or safety; and

13. A request for appointment of a guardian ad litem.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.8; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1002; 2006, c. 471; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523.

§ 64.2-2003. Appointment of guardian ad litem.

A. On the filing of every petition for guardianship or conservatorship, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the respondent. The guardian ad litem shall be paid a fee that is fixed by the court to be paid by the petitioner or taxed as costs, as the court directs.

B. Duties of the guardian ad litem include (i) personally visiting the respondent; (ii) advising the respondent of rights pursuant to §§ 64.2-2006 and 64.2-2007 and certifying to the court that the respondent has been so advised; (iii) recommending that legal counsel be appointed for the respondent, pursuant to § 64.2-2006, if the guardian ad litem believes that counsel for the respondent is necessary; (iv) investigating the petition and evidence, requesting additional evaluation if necessary, and filing a report pursuant to subsection C; and (v) personally appearing at all court proceedings and conferences.

C. In the report required by clause (iv) of subsection B, the guardian ad litem shall address the following major areas of concern: (i) whether the court has jurisdiction; (ii) whether a guardian or conservator is needed; (iii) the extent of the duties and powers of the guardian or conservator; (iv) the propriety and suitability of the person selected as guardian or conservator after consideration of the person's geographic location, familial or other relationship with the respondent, ability to carry out the powers and duties of the office, commitment to promoting the respondent's welfare, any potential conflicts of interests, wishes of the respondent, and recommendations of relatives; (v) a recommendation as to the amount of surety on the conservator's bond, if any; and (vi) consideration of proper residential placement of the respondent.

D. A health care provider shall disclose or make available to the guardian ad litem, upon request, any information, records, and reports concerning the respondent that the guardian ad litem determines necessary to perform his duties under this section.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.9; 2004, cc. 66, 1014; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1003; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2004. Notice of hearing; jurisdictional.

A. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall promptly set a date, time, and location for a hearing. The respondent shall be given reasonable notice of the hearing. The respondent may not waive notice, and a failure to properly notify the respondent shall be jurisdictional.

B. A respondent, whether or not he resides in the Commonwealth, shall be personally served with the notice of the hearing, a copy of the petition, and a copy of the order appointing a guardian ad litem pursuant to § 64.2-2003. A certification, in the guardian ad litem's report required by subsection B of § 64.2-2003, that the guardian ad litem personally served the respondent with the notice, a copy of the petition, and a copy of the order appointing a guardian ad litem shall constitute valid personal service for purposes of this section.

C. A copy of the notice, together with a copy of the petition, shall be mailed by first-class mail by the petitioner at least seven days before the hearing to all adult individuals and to all entities whose names and post office addresses appear in the petition. The court, for good cause shown, may waive the advance notice required by this subsection. If the advance notice is waived, the petitioner shall promptly mail by first-class mail a copy of the petition and any order entered to those individuals and entities.

D. The notice to the respondent shall include a brief statement in at least 14-point type of the purpose of the proceedings and shall inform the respondent of the right to be represented by counsel pursuant to § 64.2-2006 and to a hearing pursuant to § 64.2-2007. Additionally, the notice shall include the following statement in conspicuous, bold print.

WARNING

AT THE HEARING YOU MAY LOSE MANY OF YOUR RIGHTS. A GUARDIAN MAY BE APPOINTED TO MAKE PERSONAL DECISIONS FOR YOU. A CONSERVATOR MAY BE APPOINTED TO MAKE DECISIONS CONCERNING YOUR PROPERTY AND FINANCES. THE APPOINTMENT MAY AFFECT CONTROL OF HOW YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY, HOW YOUR PROPERTY IS MANAGED AND CONTROLLED, WHO MAKES YOUR MEDICAL DECISIONS, WHERE YOU LIVE, WHETHER YOU ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE, AND OTHER IMPORTANT RIGHTS.

E. The petitioner shall file with the clerk of the circuit court a statement of compliance with subsections B, C, and D.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.10; 2001, c. 30; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1004; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2005. Evaluation report.

A. A report evaluating the condition of the respondent shall be filed, under seal, with the court and provided to the guardian ad litem, the respondent, and all adult individuals and all entities to whom notice is required under subsection C of § 64.2-2004 within a reasonable time prior to the hearing on the petition. The report shall be prepared by one or more licensed physicians or psychologists or licensed professionals skilled in the assessment and treatment of the physical or mental conditions of the respondent as alleged in the petition. If a report is not available, the court may proceed to hold the hearing without the report for good cause shown, absent any objection by the guardian ad litem, or may order a report and delay the hearing until the report is prepared, filed, and provided.

B. The report shall evaluate the condition of the respondent and shall contain, to the best information and belief of its signatory:

1. A description of the nature, type, and extent of the respondent's incapacity, including the respondent's specific functional impairments;

2. A diagnosis or assessment of the respondent's mental and physical condition, including a statement as to whether the individual is on any medications that may affect his actions or demeanor, and, where appropriate and consistent with the scope of the evaluator's license, an evaluation of the respondent's ability to learn self-care skills, adaptive behavior, and social skills and a prognosis for improvement;

3. The date or dates of the examinations, evaluations, and assessments upon which the report is based; and

4. The signature of the person conducting the evaluation and the nature of the professional license held by that person.

C. In the absence of bad faith or malicious intent, a person performing the evaluation shall be immune from civil liability for any breach of patient confidentiality made in furtherance of his duties under this section.

D. A report prepared pursuant to this section shall be admissible as evidence in open court of the facts stated in the report and the results of the examination or evaluation referred to in the report, unless counsel for the respondent or the guardian ad litem objects.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.11; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1005; 2012, c. 614; 2014, c. 402.

§ 64.2-2006. Counsel for respondent.

The respondent has the right to be represented by counsel of the respondent's choice. If the respondent is not represented by counsel, the court may appoint legal counsel upon the filing of the petition or at any time prior to the entry of the order upon request of the respondent or the guardian ad litem, if the court determines that counsel is needed to protect the respondent's interest. Counsel appointed by the court shall be paid a fee that is fixed by the court to be taxed as part of the costs of the proceeding.

A health care provider shall disclose or make available to the attorney, upon request, any information, records, and reports concerning the respondent that the attorney determines necessary to perform his duties under this section, including a copy of the evaluation report required under § 64.2-2005.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.12; 2004, cc. 66, 1014; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1006; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2007. Hearing on petition to appoint.

A. The respondent is entitled to a jury trial upon request, and may compel the attendance of witnesses, present evidence on his own behalf, and confront and cross-examine witnesses.

B. The court or the jury, if a jury is requested, shall hear the petition for the appointment of a guardian or conservator. The hearing may be held at such convenient place as the court directs, including the place where the respondent is located. The hearing shall be conducted within 120 days from the filing of the petition unless the court postpones it for cause. The proposed guardian or conservator shall attend the hearing except for good cause shown and, where appropriate, shall provide the court with a recommendation as to living arrangements and a treatment plan for the respondent. The respondent is entitled to be present at the hearing and all other stages of the proceedings. The respondent shall be present if he so requests or if his presence is requested by the guardian ad litem. Whether or not present, the respondent shall be regarded as having denied the allegations in the petition.

C. In determining the need for a guardian or a conservator and the powers and duties of any guardian or conservator, if needed, consideration shall be given to the following factors: (i) the limitations of the respondent; (ii) the development of the respondent's maximum self-reliance and independence; (iii) the availability of less restrictive alternatives, including advance directives and durable powers of attorney; (iv) the extent to which it is necessary to protect the respondent from neglect, exploitation, or abuse; (v) the actions needed to be taken by the guardian or conservator; (vi) the suitability of the proposed guardian or conservator; and (vii) the best interests of the respondent.

D. If, after considering the evidence presented at the hearing, the court or jury determines on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is incapacitated and in need of a guardian or conservator, the court shall appoint a suitable person, who may be the spouse of the respondent, to be the guardian or the conservator or both, giving due deference to the wishes of the respondent.

The court in its order shall make specific findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of each provision of any orders entered.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.13; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1007; 2009, c. 433; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523.

§ 64.2-2008. Fees and costs.

A. The petitioner shall pay the filing fee set forth in subdivision A 43 of § 17.1-275 and costs. Service fees and court costs may be waived by the court if it is alleged under oath that the estate of the respondent is unavailable or insufficient. If a guardian or conservator is appointed and the court finds that the petition is brought in good faith and for the benefit of the respondent, the court shall order that the petitioner be reimbursed from the estate for all reasonable costs and fees if the estate of the incapacitated person is available and sufficient to reimburse the petitioner. If a guardian or conservator is not appointed and the court nonetheless finds that the petition is brought in good faith and for the benefit of the respondent, the court may direct the respondent's estate, if available and sufficient, to reimburse the petitioner for all reasonable costs and fees. The court may require the petitioner to pay or reimburse all or some of the respondent's reasonable costs and fees and any other costs incurred under this chapter if the court finds that the petitioner initiated a proceeding under this chapter that was in bad faith or not for the benefit of the respondent.

B. In any proceeding filed pursuant to this article, if the adult subject of the petition is determined to be indigent, any fees and costs of the proceeding that are fixed by the court or taxed as costs shall be borne by the Commonwealth.

1998, c. 76, § 37.1-134.13:1; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1008; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523.

§ 64.2-2009. Court order of appointment; limited guardianships and conservatorships.

A. The court's order appointing a guardian or conservator shall (i) state the nature and extent of the person's incapacity; (ii) define the powers and duties of the guardian or conservator so as to permit the incapacitated person to care for himself and manage property to the extent he is capable; (iii) specify whether the appointment of a guardian or conservator is limited to a specified length of time, as the court in its discretion may determine; (iv) specify the legal disabilities, if any, of the person in connection with the finding of incapacity, including but not limited to mental competency for purposes of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia or Title 24.2; (v) include any limitations deemed appropriate following consideration of the factors specified in § 64.2-2007; (vi) set the bond of the guardian and the bond and surety, if any, of the conservator; and (vii) where a petition is brought prior to the incapacitated person's eighteenth birthday, pursuant to subsection C of § 64.2-2001, whether the order shall take effect immediately upon entry or on the incapacitated person's eighteenth birthday.

B. The court may appoint a limited guardian for an incapacitated person who is capable of addressing some of the essential requirements for his care for the limited purpose of medical decision making, decisions about place of residency, or other specific decisions regarding his personal affairs. The court may appoint a limited conservator for an incapacitated person who is capable of managing some of his property and financial affairs for limited purposes that are specified in the order.

C. Unless the guardian has a professional relationship with the incapacitated person or is employed by or affiliated with a facility where the person resides, the court's order may authorize the guardian to consent to the admission of the person to a facility pursuant to § 37.2-805.1, upon finding by clear and convincing evidence that (i) the person has severe and persistent mental illness that significantly impairs the person's capacity to exercise judgment or self-control, as confirmed by the evaluation of a licensed psychiatrist; (ii) such condition is unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future; and (iii) the guardian has formulated a plan for providing ongoing treatment of the person's illness in the least restrictive setting suitable for the person's condition.

D. A guardian need not be appointed for a person who has appointed an agent under an advance directive executed in accordance with the provisions of Article 8 (§ 54.1-2981 et seq.) of Chapter 29 of Title 54.1, unless the court determines that the agent is not acting in accordance with the wishes of the principal or there is a need for decision making outside the purview of the advance directive.

A conservator need not be appointed for a person (i) who has appointed an agent under a durable power of attorney, unless the court determines pursuant to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (§ 64.2-1600 et seq.) that the agent is not acting in the best interests of the principal or there is a need for decision making outside the purview of the durable power of attorney or (ii) whose only or major source of income is from the Social Security Administration or other government program and who has a representative payee.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.14; 1998, c. 582; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1009; 2009, cc. 211, 268; 2010, cc. 455, 632; 2012, c. 614; 2016, c. 31.

§ 64.2-2010. Eligibility for public guardian or conservator.

The circuit court may appoint a local or regional program authorized by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services pursuant to Article 6 (§ 51.5-149 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5 as the guardian or conservator for any resident of the Commonwealth who is found to be incapacitated if the court finds that (i) the incapacitated person's resources are insufficient to fully compensate a private guardian and pay court costs and fees associated with the appointment proceeding and (ii) there is no other proper and suitable person willing and able to serve in such capacity or there is no guardian or conservator appointed within one month of adjudication pursuant to § 64.2-2015. The court shall use the guidelines for determining indigency set forth in § 19.2-159 in determining the sufficiency of the respondent's estate. If the respondent would be eligible for the appointment of counsel pursuant to § 19.2-159, he shall be eligible for the appointment of a public guardian or conservator pursuant to this section.

1998, c. 787, § 37.1-134.14:1; 2005, cc. 712, 716, § 37.2-1010; 2012, cc. 614, 803, 835.

§ 64.2-2011. Qualification of guardian or conservator; clerk to record order and issue certificate; reliance on certificate.

A. A guardian or conservator appointed in the court order shall qualify before the clerk upon the following:

1. Subscribing to an oath promising to faithfully perform the duties of the office in accordance with all provisions of this chapter;

2. Posting of bond, but no surety shall be required on the bond of the guardian, and the conservator's bond may be with or without surety, as ordered by the court; and

3. Acceptance in writing by the guardian or conservator of any educational materials provided by the court.

B. Upon qualification, the clerk shall issue to the guardian or conservator a certificate with a copy of the order appended thereto. The clerk shall record the order in the same manner as a power of attorney would be recorded and shall, in addition to the requirements of § 64.2-2014, provide a copy of the order to the commissioner of accounts. It shall be the duty of a conservator having the power to sell real estate to record the order in the office of the clerk of any jurisdiction where the respondent owns real property. If the order appoints a guardian, the clerk shall promptly forward a copy of the order to the local department of social services in the jurisdiction where the respondent then resides and to the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

C. A conservator shall have all powers granted pursuant to § 64.2-2021 as are necessary and proper for the performance of his duties in accordance with this chapter, subject to the limitations that are prescribed in the order. The powers granted to a guardian shall only be those powers enumerated in the court order.

D. Any individual or entity conducting business in good faith with a guardian or conservator who presents a currently effective certificate of qualification may presume that the guardian or conservator is properly authorized to act as to any matter or transaction, except to the extent of any limitations upon the fiduciary's powers contained in the court's order of appointment.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.15; 1998, c. 582; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1011; 2012, c. 614; 2016, c. 30.

§ 64.2-2012. Petition for restoration, modification, or termination; effects.

A. Upon petition by the incapacitated person, the guardian or conservator, or any other person or upon motion of the court, the court may (i) declare the incapacitated person restored to capacity; (ii) modify the type of appointment or the 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 as provided in § 64.2-1410; or (v) order other appropriate relief. The fee for filing the petition shall be as provided in subdivision A 43 of § 17.1-275.

B. In the case of a petition for modification to expand the scope of a guardianship or conservatorship, the incapacitated person shall be entitled to a jury, upon request. Notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition shall be personally served on the incapacitated person and mailed to other persons entitled to notice pursuant to § 64.2-2004. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the incapacitated person and may appoint one or more licensed physicians or psychologists or licensed professionals skilled in the assessment and treatment of the physical or mental conditions of the incapacitated person, as alleged in the petition, to conduct an evaluation. Upon the filing of any other such petition or upon the motion of the court, and after reasonable notice to the incapacitated person, any guardian or conservator, any attorney of record, any person entitled to notice of the filing of an original petition as provided in § 64.2-2004, and any other person or entity as the court may require, the court shall hold a hearing.

C. An order appointing a guardian or conservator may be revoked, modified, or terminated upon a finding that it is in the best interests of the incapacitated person and that:

1. The incapacitated person is no longer in need of the assistance or protection of a guardian or conservator;

2. The extent of protection, management, or assistance previously granted is either excessive or insufficient considering the current need of the incapacitated person;

3. The incapacitated person's understanding or capacity to manage his estate and financial affairs or to provide for his health, care, or safety has so changed as to warrant such action; or

4. Circumstances are such that the guardianship or conservatorship is no longer necessary or is insufficient.

D. The court shall declare the person restored to capacity and discharge the guardian or conservator if, on the basis of evidence offered at the hearing, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the incapacitated person has substantially regained his ability to (i) care for his person in the case of a guardianship or (ii) manage and handle his estate in the case of a conservatorship.

In the case of a petition for modification of a guardianship or conservatorship, the court shall order (a) limiting or reducing the powers of the guardian or conservator if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that it is in the best interests of the incapacitated person to do so, or (b) increasing or expanding the powers of the guardian or conservator if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the incapacitated person to do so.

The court may order a new bond or other appropriate relief upon finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the guardian or conservator is not acting in the best interests of the incapacitated person or of the estate.

E. The powers of a guardian or conservator shall terminate upon the death, resignation, or removal of the guardian or conservator or upon the termination of the guardianship or conservatorship.

A guardianship or conservatorship shall terminate upon the death of the incapacitated person or, if ordered by the court, following a hearing on the petition of any interested person.

F. The court may allow reasonable compensation from the estate of the incapacitated person to any guardian ad litem, attorney, or evaluator appointed pursuant to this section. Any compensation allowed shall be taxed as costs of the proceeding.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.16; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1012; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2013. Standby guardianship or conservatorship for incapacitated persons.

A. For purposes of this section, the term "person" includes a child or a parent sharing a biological relationship with one another or having a relationship established by adoption, a relationship established pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 20-156 et seq.) of Title 20, or a relationship established by a judicial proceeding that establishes parentage or orders legal guardianship. The term includes persons 18 years of age and over.

B. On petition of one or both parents, one or more children, or the legal guardian of an incapacitated person made to the circuit court for the jurisdiction where the parent, parents, child, children, or legal guardian resides, the court may appoint a standby guardian or a standby conservator, or both, of the incapacitated person. The appointment of the standby fiduciary shall be affirmed biennially by the parent, parents, child, children, or legal guardian of the person and by the standby fiduciary prior to his assuming his position as fiduciary by filing with the court an affidavit that states that the standby fiduciary remains available and capable to fulfill his duties.

C. The standby fiduciary shall be authorized without further proceedings to assume the duties of his office immediately upon the death or adjudication of incapacity of the last surviving of the parents or children of the incapacitated person or of his legal guardian, subject to confirmation of his appointment by the circuit court within 60 days following assumption of his duties. If the incapacitated person is 18 years of age or older, the court, before confirming the appointment of the standby fiduciary, shall conduct a hearing pursuant to this article. The requirements of the court and the powers, duties, and liabilities that pertain to guardians and conservators govern the confirmation of the standby fiduciary and shall apply to the standby fiduciary upon the assumption of his duties.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.17; 2004, c. 135; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1013; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2014. Clerk to index findings of incapacity or restoration; notice of findings.

A. A copy of the court's findings that a person is incapacitated or has been restored to capacity, or a copy of any order appointing a conservator or guardian pursuant to § 64.2-2115, shall be filed by the judge with the clerk of the circuit court for the county or city where the hearing took place as soon as practicable, but no later than the close of business on the next business day following the completion of the hearing. The clerk shall properly index the findings in the index to deed books by reference to the order book and page whereon the order is spread and shall immediately notify the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in accordance with § 64.2-2028, the commissioner of accounts in order to ensure compliance by a conservator with the duties imposed pursuant to §§ 64.2-2021, 64.2-2022, 64.2-2023, and 64.2-2026, and the Commissioner of Elections with the information required by § 24.2-410. If a guardian is appointed, the clerk shall forward a copy of the court order to the local department of social services of the jurisdiction where the person then resides and to the Department of Medical Assistance Services. If a guardianship is terminated or otherwise modified, the clerk shall forward a copy of the court order to the local department of social services to which the original order of appointment was forwarded, to the local department of social services in the jurisdiction where the person then resides, if different from the department to which the original order was forwarded, and to the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

B. The clerk shall, as soon as practicable, but no later than the close of business on the following business day, certify and forward upon receipt to the Central Criminal Records Exchange, on a form provided by the Exchange, a copy of any order adjudicating a person incapacitated under this article, any order appointing a conservator or guardian pursuant to § 64.2-2115, and any order of restoration of capacity under § 64.2-2012. Except as provided in subdivision A 1 of § 19.2-389, the copy of the form and the order shall be kept confidential in a separate file and used only to determine a person's eligibility to possess, purchase, or transfer a firearm.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.18; 1998, c. 582; 2001, cc. 478, 479, 507; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1014; 2011, c. 518; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 542; 2014, cc. 336, 374; 2015, c. 540; 2016, c. 30.

§ 64.2-2015. When no guardian or conservator appointed within one month of adjudication.

A. If a person is adjudicated incapacitated and in need of a guardian or conservator and the court has not identified any person to serve as guardian or conservator within one month from the adjudication, the court may appoint a local or regional program of the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Program authorized by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services pursuant to Article 6 (§ 51.5-149 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of Title 51.5. If there is no such local or regional program within the court's jurisdiction, the court may appoint any local or regional program within 60 miles of the residence of the incapacitated person as identified by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. However, the court shall not appoint any such local or regional program that has reached or exceeded its ideal ratio of clients to staff pursuant to regulations adopted by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services under § 51.5-150.

B. If any person appointed as a fiduciary under this title refuses the trust or fails to give bond as required within one month from the date of his appointment, the court, on motion of any interested person, may appoint some other person as fiduciary, taking from the fiduciary the bond required, or shall commit the estate of the respondent to the sheriff of the county or city where the respondent is an inhabitant; and the sheriff shall be the fiduciary, and he and the sureties in his official bond shall be bound for the faithful performance of the trust.

Code 1950, § 37-145; 1950, p. 923; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-137; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 155; 1976, c. 671; 1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.19; 1998, c. 787; 2005, cc. 712, 716, § 37.2-1015; 2012, cc. 614, 803, 835.

§ 64.2-2016. Trustees for incapacitated veterans and their beneficiaries.

A. Whenever any veteran of the armed forces of the United States or the beneficiary of any veteran is found to be incapacitated by the medical authorities of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, on motion of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or any interested person, and after reasonable notice to the veteran or beneficiary, the circuit court of the county or the city in which the veteran or beneficiary resides, in lieu of appointing a conservator or finding him to be incapacitated, shall appoint a trustee for the veteran or the beneficiary of the veteran where it appears to the court that a trustee is needed for the purpose of receiving and administering pension, compensation, insurance, or other benefits that might be paid by the United States government. Any motion shall be accompanied by a certificate of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or his duly authorized representative certifying that the veteran or beneficiary has been rated incapacitated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and that the appointment of a trustee is a condition precedent to the payment of any moneys due the veteran or the beneficiary.

B. Upon his qualification, the trustee, in addition to administering the funds payable through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, shall administer the entire estate of the veteran or the beneficiary regardless of the source from which it is derived and, in such administration, shall have the same powers and duties and be subject to the same liabilities as are vested in or imposed upon a conservator pursuant to this chapter. The trustee, in addition to the duties and obligations imposed upon him under his trust by the federal government, shall be subject to the state laws that are applicable to the appointment and administration of conservators for incapacitated persons.

C. The court that appointed the trustee for a veteran or beneficiary pursuant to this section may subsequently find that the veteran or beneficiary has been restored to capacity.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-134.20; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1016; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2017. Payments from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Monthly payments of pension, compensation, insurance, or other benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made to a trustee or other fiduciary shall be considered as income and not principal, but the accumulation of such monthly payments received by a trustee or other fiduciary and in his possession at the end of the accounting year may be carried over as principal and converted into the corpus of the estate when the accumulation amounts to $2,000 or more.

Code 1950, § 37-150.1; 1966, c. 310; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-143; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1017; 2012, c. 614; 2014, c. 532.

§ 64.2-2018. Taking of bond by clerk of court.

Whenever this title provides for the appointment of a fiduciary by a circuit court, the clerk of the court also shall have the authority to take the required bond, set the penalty thereof, and pass upon the sufficiency of the surety thereon.

Code 1950, § 37-144.1; 1958, c. 277; 1968, cc. 383, 477, § 37.1-136; 1976, c. 671; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1019; 2012, c. 614.

Article 2. Powers, Duties, and Liabilities.

§ 64.2-2019. Duties and powers of guardian.

A. A guardian stands in a fiduciary relationship to the incapacitated person for whom he was appointed guardian and may be held personally liable for a breach of any fiduciary duty to the incapacitated person. A guardian shall not be liable for the acts of the incapacitated person unless the guardian is personally negligent. A guardian shall not be required to expend personal funds on behalf of the incapacitated person.

B. A guardian's duties and authority shall not extend to decisions addressed in a valid advance directive or durable power of attorney previously executed by the incapacitated person. A guardian may seek court authorization to revoke, suspend, or otherwise modify a durable power of attorney, as provided by the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (§ 64.2-1600 et seq.). Notwithstanding the provisions of the Health Care Decisions Act (§ 54.1-2981 et seq.) and in accordance with the procedures of § 64.2-2012, a guardian may seek court authorization to modify the designation of an agent under an advance directive, but the modification shall not in any way affect the incapacitated person's directives concerning the provision or refusal of specific medical treatments or procedures.

C. A guardian shall maintain sufficient contact with the incapacitated person to know of his capabilities, limitations, needs, and opportunities. The guardian shall visit the incapacitated person as often as necessary.

D. A guardian shall be required to seek prior court authorization to change the incapacitated person's residence to another state, to terminate or consent to a termination of the person's parental rights, or to initiate a change in the person's marital status.

E. A guardian shall, to the extent feasible, encourage the incapacitated person to participate in decisions, to act on his own behalf, and to develop or regain the capacity to manage personal affairs. A guardian, in making decisions, shall consider the expressed desires and personal values of the incapacitated person to the extent known and shall otherwise act in the incapacitated person's best interest and exercise reasonable care, diligence, and prudence. A guardian shall not unreasonably restrict an incapacitated person's ability to communicate with, visit, or interact with other persons with whom the incapacitated person has an established relationship.

F. A guardian shall have authority to make arrangements for the funeral and disposition of remains, including cremation, interment, entombment, memorialization, inurnment, or scattering of the cremains, or some combination thereof, if the guardian is not aware of any person that has been otherwise designated to make such arrangements as set forth in § 54.1-2825. A guardian shall have authority to make arrangements for the funeral and disposition of remains after the death of an incapacitated person if, after the guardian has made a good faith effort to locate the next of kin of the incapacitated person to determine if the next of kin wishes to make such arrangements, the next of kin does not wish to make the arrangements or the next of kin cannot be located. Good faith effort shall include contacting the next of kin identified in the petition for appointment of a guardian. The funeral service licensee, funeral service establishment, registered crematory, cemetery, cemetery operator, or guardian shall be immune from civil liability for any act, decision, or omission resulting from acceptance of any dead body for burial, cremation, or other disposition when the provisions of this section are met, unless such acts, decisions, or omissions resulted from bad faith or malicious intent.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-137.1; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1020; 2010, cc. 455, 632; 2012, cc. 463, 614; 2016, cc. 404, 405.

§ 64.2-2020. Annual reports by guardians.

A. A guardian shall file an annual report in compliance with the filing deadlines in § 64.2-1305 with the local department of social services for the jurisdiction where the incapacitated person then resides. The report shall be on a form prepared by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and shall be accompanied by a filing fee of $5. The local department shall retain the fee in the jurisdiction where the fee is collected for use in the provision of services to adults in need of protection. Within 60 days of receipt of the annual report, the local department shall file a copy of the report with the clerk of the circuit court that appointed the guardian, to be placed with the court papers pertaining to the guardianship case. Twice each year the local department shall file with the clerk of the circuit court a list of all guardians who are more than 90 days delinquent in filing an annual report as required by this section. If the guardian is also a conservator, a settlement of accounts shall also be filed with the commissioner of accounts as provided in § 64.2-1305.

B. The report to the local department of social services shall include:

1. A description of the current mental, physical, and social condition of the incapacitated person;

2. A description of the person's living arrangements during the reported period;

3. The medical, educational, vocational, and other professional services provided to the person and the guardian's opinion as to the adequacy of the person's care;

4. A statement of the frequency and nature of the guardian's visits with and activities on behalf of the person;

5. A statement of whether the guardian agrees with the current treatment or habilitation plan;

6. A recommendation as to the need for continued guardianship, any recommended changes in the scope of the guardianship, and any other information useful in the opinion of the guardian; and

7. The compensation requested and the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the guardian.

The guardian shall certify that the information contained in the report is true and correct to the best of his knowledge.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-137.2; 1998, c. 582; 2000, c. 198; 2003, c. 527; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1021; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 133.

§ 64.2-2021. General duties and liabilities of conservator.

A. At all times the conservator shall exercise reasonable care, diligence, and prudence and shall act in the best interest of the incapacitated person. To the extent known to him, a conservator shall consider the expressed desires and personal values of the incapacitated person.

B. Subject to any conditions or limitations set forth in the conservatorship order, the conservator shall take care of and preserve the estate of the incapacitated person and manage it to the best advantage. The conservator shall apply the income from the estate, or so much as may be necessary, to the payment of the debts of the incapacitated person, including payment of reasonable compensation to himself and to any guardian appointed, and to the maintenance of the person and of his legal dependents, if any, and, to the extent that the income is not sufficient, he shall so apply the corpus of the estate.

C. A conservator shall, to the extent feasible, encourage the incapacitated person to participate in decisions, to act on his own behalf, and to develop or regain the capacity to manage the estate and his financial affairs. A conservator also shall consider the size of the estate, the probable duration of the conservatorship, the incapacitated person's accustomed manner of living, other resources known to the conservator to be available, and the recommendations of the guardian.

D. A conservator stands in a fiduciary relationship to the incapacitated person for whom he was appointed conservator and may be held personally liable for a breach of any fiduciary duty. Unless otherwise provided in the contract, a conservator is personally liable on a contract entered into in a fiduciary capacity in the course of administration of the estate, unless he reveals the representative capacity and identifies the estate in the contract. Claims based upon contracts entered into by a conservator in a fiduciary capacity, obligations arising from ownership or control of the estate, or torts committed in the course of administration of the estate may be asserted against the estate by proceeding against the conservator in a fiduciary capacity, whether or not the conservator is personally liable therefor. A successor conservator is not personally liable for the contracts or actions of a predecessor.

E. A conservator shall comply with and be subject to the requirements imposed upon fiduciaries generally under Part A (§ 64.2-1200 et seq.) of this subtitle, specifically including the duty to account set forth in § 64.2-1305.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-137.3; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1022; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2022. Management powers and duties of conservator.

A. A conservator, in managing the estate, shall have the powers set forth in § 64.2-105 as of the date the conservator acts as well as the following powers, which may be exercised without prior court authorization except as otherwise specifically provided in the court's order of appointment:

1. To ratify or reject a contract entered into by an incapacitated person;

2. To pay any sum distributable for the benefit of the incapacitated person or for the benefit of a legal dependent by paying the sum directly to the distributee, to the provider of goods and services, to any individual or facility that is responsible for or has assumed responsibility for care and custody, or to a distributee's custodian under a Uniform Gifts or Transfers to Minors Act of any applicable jurisdiction or by paying the sum to the guardian of the incapacitated person or, in the case of a dependent, to the dependent's guardian or conservator;

3. To maintain life, health, casualty, and liability insurance for the benefit of the incapacitated person or his legal dependents;

4. To manage the estate following the termination of the conservatorship until its delivery to the incapacitated person or successors in interest;

5. To execute and deliver all instruments and to take all other actions that will serve in the best interests of the incapacitated person;

6. To initiate a proceeding (i) to revoke a power of attorney under the provisions of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (§ 64.2-1600 et seq.), (ii) to make an augmented estate election under § 64.2-302 or 64.2-308.13, as applicable, or (iii) to make an election to take a family allowance, exempt property, or a homestead allowance under § 64.2-313; and

7. To borrow money for periods of time and upon terms and conditions for rates, maturities, renewals, and security that to the conservator shall seem advisable, including the power to borrow from the conservator, if the conservator is a bank, for any purpose; to mortgage or pledge the portion of the incapacitated person's estate that may be required to secure the loan or loans; and, as maker or endorser, to renew existing loans.

B. The court may impose requirements to be satisfied by the conservator prior to the conveyance of any interest in real estate, including (i) increasing the amount of the conservator's bond, (ii) securing an appraisal of the real estate or interest, (iii) giving notice to interested parties as the court deems proper, (iv) consulting by the conservator with the commissioner of accounts and, if one has been appointed, with the guardian, and (v) requiring the use of a common source information company, as defined in § 54.1-2130, when listing the property. If the court imposes any such requirements, the conservator shall make a report of his compliance with each requirement, to be filed with the commissioner of accounts. Promptly following receipt of the conservator's report, the commissioner of accounts shall file a report with the court indicating whether the requirements imposed have been met and whether the sale is otherwise consistent with the conservator's duties. The conveyance shall not be closed until a report by the commissioner of accounts is filed with the court and confirmed as provided in §§ 64.2-1212, 64.2-1213, and 64.2-1214.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-137.4; 2004, cc. 652, 756; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1023; 2007, c. 694; 2010, cc. 455, 632; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523; 2016, cc. 187, 269.

§ 64.2-2023. Estate planning.

A. In the order appointing a conservator entered pursuant to § 64.2-2009 or in a separate proceeding brought on petition, the court may for good cause shown authorize a conservator to (i) make gifts from income and principal of the incapacitated person's estate not necessary for the incapacitated person's maintenance to those persons to whom the incapacitated person would, in the judgment of the court, have made gifts if he had been of sound mind, (ii) disclaim property as provided in Chapter 26 (§ 64.2-2600 et seq.), or (iii) create a revocable or irrevocable trust on behalf of an incapacitated person with terms approved by the court or transfer assets of an incapacitated person or an incapacitated person's estate to a trust.

B. In a proceeding under this section, a guardian ad litem shall be appointed to represent the interest of the incapacitated person. Notice of a proceeding under this section shall be given pursuant to Chapter 8 (§ 8.01-285 et seq.) of Title 8.01 and the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia to: (i) the incapacitated person and the incapacitated person's spouse and children, (ii) all beneficiaries named in any known will of the incapacitated person, (iii) the incapacitated person's intestate heirs determined as if the incapacitated person had died intestate on the date of the filing of the petition, and (iv) all other interested persons. The court may authorize the hearing to proceed without notice to any person who would not be substantially affected by the proceedings. For the purposes of this section, the beneficiaries and intestate heirs shall be deemed possessed of inchoate property rights. Unless otherwise represented, a minor, incapacitated, or unborn individual, or a person whose identity or location is unknown and not reasonably ascertainable, may with the approval of the court be represented and bound by another having a substantially identical interest with respect to the will proceeding under this section, but only to the extent that there is no conflict of interest between the representative and the person represented.

C. The court shall determine the amounts, recipients, and proportions of any gifts of the estate, the advisability of any disclaimer, whether good cause exists to create a trust or transfer assets, and whether to approve the trust terms after considering (i) the size and composition of the estate; (ii) the nature and probable duration of the incapacity; (iii) the effect of the gifts, disclaimers, trusts, or transfers on the estate's financial ability to meet the incapacitated person's foreseeable health, medical care, and maintenance needs; (iv) the incapacitated person's estate plan and the effect of the gifts, disclaimers, trusts, or transfers on the estate plan; (v) prior patterns of assistance or gifts to the proposed donees; (vi) the tax effect of the proposed gifts, disclaimers, trusts, or transfers; (vii) the effect of any transfer of assets or disclaimer on the establishment or retention of eligibility for medical assistance services; (viii) whether to require, during the lifetime of the incapacitated person, that the trustee of any trust created or funded pursuant to this section post bond, with or without surety, or provide an accounting as set forth in § 64.2-1305; and (ix) other factors that the court may deem relevant.

D. A commissioner of accounts for the jurisdiction where a conservator qualifies may authorize the same gifts under the same circumstances as the circuit court may authorize under subsection C, except that (i) the total gifts authorized in a calendar year shall not exceed $25,000 and (ii) the commissioner shall report to the court his determination based upon consideration of clauses (i) through (ix) set forth in subsection C. The provisions of subsection B shall not apply to proceedings before the commissioner, but the commissioner shall give reasonable written notice of the scheduled hearing date to any person who would be substantially affected by the proceedings. The commissioner may provide notice to a minor by mail to the duly qualified guardian of the minor or, if none exists, a custodial parent of the minor who is also not the conservator.

E. If the gifts by the conservator under clause (i) of subsection A do not exceed $150 to each donee in a calendar year and do not exceed a total of $750 in a calendar year, the conservator may make such gifts without a hearing under this section, the appointment of a guardian ad litem, or giving notice to any person. Prior to the making of such a gift, the conservator shall consider clauses (i) through (ix) set forth in subsection C and shall also find that the incapacitated person has shown a history of giving the same or a similar gift to a specific donee for the previous three years prior to the appointment of the conservator.

F. The conservator may transfer assets of an incapacitated person or an incapacitated person's estate into an irrevocable trust where the transfer has been designated solely for burial of the incapacitated person or spouse of the incapacitated person in accordance with conditions set forth in subdivision A 2 of § 32.1-325. The conservator also may contractually bind an incapacitated person or an incapacitated person's estate by executing a preneed funeral contract, described in Chapter 28 (§ 54.1-2800 et seq.) of Title 54.1, for the benefit of the incapacitated person.

G. A conservator may exercise the incapacitated person's power to revoke or amend a trust or to withdraw or demand distribution of trust assets only with the approval of the court for good cause shown, unless the trust instrument expressly provides otherwise.

1997, c. 921, § 37.1-137.5; 2003, cc. 253, 528; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1024; 2012, c. 614; 2013, c. 523; 2014, c. 532.

§ 64.2-2024. Fiduciary to take possession of incapacitated person's estate; suits relative to estate; retaining estate for fiduciary's own debt.

Subject to any conditions or limitations set forth in the order appointing him, the fiduciary shall take possession of the incapacitated person's estate and may sue and be sued in respect to all claims or demands of every nature in favor of or against the incapacitated person and the incapacitated person's estate. The fiduciary shall have the same right of retaining for his own debt as an administrator would have.

Code 1950, § 37-147; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-139; 1980, c. 582; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1025; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2025. Fiduciary to prosecute and defend actions involving incapacitated person.

Subject to any conditions or limitations set forth in the order appointing the fiduciary, the fiduciary shall prosecute or defend all actions or suits to which the incapacitated person is a party at the time of qualification of the fiduciary and all such actions or suits subsequently instituted after 10 days' notice of the pendency of the action or suit. Such notice shall be given by the clerk of the court in which the action or suit is pending.

Code 1950, § 37-149; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-141; 1976, c. 671; 1980, c. 582; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1026; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2026. Surrender of incapacitated person's estate.

A. If the incapacitated person is restored to capacity, the fiduciary shall surrender the incapacitated person's estate or that portion for which he is accountable to the incapacitated person.

B. If the incapacitated person dies prior to being restored to capacity, the fiduciary shall surrender the real estate to the incapacitated person's heirs or devisees and the personal estate to his executors or administrators. If, at the time of the death of the incapacitated person, (i) the value of the personal estate in the custody of the fiduciary is $25,000 or less, (ii) a personal representative has not qualified within 60 days of the incapacitated person's death, and (iii) the fiduciary does not anticipate that anyone will qualify, the fiduciary may pay the balance of the incapacitated person's estate to the incapacitated person's surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, to the distributees of the incapacitated person or other persons entitled thereto, including any person or entity entitled to payment for funeral or burial services provided. The distribution shall be noted in the fiduciary's final accounting submitted to the commissioner of accounts.

Code 1950, § 37-151; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-144; 1995, c. 344; 1997, c. 921; 2003, c. 195; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1027; 2012, c. 614; 2014, c. 532.

§ 64.2-2027. Use of estate of incapacitated person in a state facility not limited by provisions relating to expenses.

Nothing in Article 2 (§ 37.2-715 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 37.2 shall be construed to relieve the fiduciary of any individual receiving services in a state facility from paying to the state facility a sum for extra comforts or to make it unlawful for the fiduciary to make voluntary gifts that the fiduciary may deem conducive to the happiness and comfort of the individual.

Code 1950, § 37-153; 1950, p. 924; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-146; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1028; 2012, cc. 476, 507, 614.

§ 64.2-2028. Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to be notified in certain cases.

In any suit or action for the appointment of a fiduciary who is to have the management and control of funds belonging to any person who has been admitted to any state facility, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services shall receive notice of the suit or action, and the clerk of any court in which the suit or action is pending shall notify the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services of that fact.

Code 1950, § 37-153.1; 1950, p. 924; 1968, c. 477, § 37.1-147; 2005, c. 716, § 37.2-1029; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2029. Application to guardians and conservators appointed pursuant to § 64.2-2115.

Except as otherwise provided in an order entered pursuant to § 64.2-2115, a guardian or conservator appointed pursuant to § 64.2-2115 shall be subject to the provisions of §§ 64.2-2011 and 64.2-2012 and this article.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1030; 2012, c. 614.

Chapter 21. Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 64.2-2100. Definitions.

In this chapter:

"Adult" means an individual who has attained 18 years of age.

"Conservator" means a person appointed by the court to administer the property of an adult, including a person appointed under Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.).

"Conservatorship order" means an order appointing a conservator.

"Court" means a court of competent jurisdiction as determined by otherwise applicable Virginia law to establish, enforce, or modify a guardianship or conservatorship order or an entity authorized under the law of another state to establish, enforce, or modify a guardianship or conservatorship order.

"Guardian" means a person appointed by the court to make decisions regarding the person of an adult, including a person appointed under Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.).

"Guardianship order" means an order appointing a guardian.

"Guardianship proceeding" means a judicial proceeding in which an order for the appointment of a guardian is sought or has been issued.

"Incapacitated person" means an adult for whom a guardian has been appointed.

"Individually identifiable health information" means health information, including demographic information, collected from an individual that (i) is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, employer, or health care clearinghouse and (ii) identifies the individual, or there is a reasonable basis to believe that the information can be used to identify the individual, and relates to (a) the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of the individual, (b) the provision of health care to the individual, or (c) the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual.

"Party" means the respondent, petitioner, guardian, conservator, or any other person allowed by the court to participate in a guardianship or protective proceeding.

"Person," except in the term "incapacitated person" or "protected person," means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.

"Protected health information" means individually identifiable health information that is (i) transmitted in electronic media, (ii) maintained in electronic media, or (iii) transmitted or maintained in any other form or medium. Protected health information excludes individually identifiable health information in (a) education records covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g); (b) records of any student who is 18 years of age or older, or is attending a postsecondary school, that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his professional or paraprofessional capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and that are made, maintained, or used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and are not available to anyone other than persons providing such treatment, except that such records may be personally reviewed by a physician or other appropriate professional of the student's choice; and (c) employment records held, in its role as employer, by a health plan, health care clearinghouse, or health care provider that transmits health information in electronic form.

"Protected person" means an adult for whom a conservatorship order has been issued.

"Protective proceeding" means a judicial proceeding in which a conservatorship order is sought or has been issued.

"Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

"Respondent" means an adult for whom a conservatorship order or the appointment of a guardian is sought.

"State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, a federally recognized Indian tribe, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1032; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2101. International application of chapter.

A court of the Commonwealth may treat a foreign country as if it were a state for the purpose of applying this article and Articles 2 (§ 64.2-2105 et seq.), 3 (§ 64.2-2114 et seq.), and 5 (§ 64.2-2119 et seq.).

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1033; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2102. Communication between courts.

A. A court of the Commonwealth may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under this chapter. The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. Except as otherwise provided in subsection B, the court shall make a record of the communication. The record may be limited to the fact that the communication occurred.

B. Courts may communicate concerning schedules, calendars, court records, and other administrative matters without making a record.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1034; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2103. Cooperation between courts.

A. In a guardianship or protective proceeding in the Commonwealth, a court in the Commonwealth may request the appropriate court of another state to do any of the following:

1. Hold an evidentiary hearing;

2. Order a person in that state to produce evidence or give testimony pursuant to procedures of that state;

3. Order that an evaluation or assessment be made of the respondent;

4. Order any appropriate investigation of a person involved in a proceeding;

5. Forward to the court of the Commonwealth a certified copy of the transcript or other record of a hearing under subdivision 1 or any other proceeding, any evidence otherwise produced under subdivision 2, and any evaluation or assessment prepared in compliance with an order under subdivision 3 or 4;

6. Issue any order necessary to assure the appearance in the proceeding of a person whose presence is necessary for either court to make a determination, including the respondent or the incapacitated or protected person; and

7. Issue an order authorizing the release of medical, financial, criminal, or other relevant information in that state, including protected health information.

B. If a court of another state in which a guardianship or protective proceeding is pending requests assistance of the kind provided in subsection A, a court of the Commonwealth has jurisdiction for the limited purpose of granting the request or making reasonable efforts to comply with the request.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1035; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2104. Taking testimony in another state.

A. In a guardianship or protective proceeding, in addition to other procedures that may be available, testimony of a witness who is located in another state may be offered by deposition or other means allowable in the Commonwealth for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a witness be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is to be taken.

B. In a guardianship or protective proceeding, a court in the Commonwealth may permit a witness located in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone or audiovisual or other electronic means. A court in the Commonwealth shall cooperate with the court of the other state in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

C. Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of the Commonwealth by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the best evidence rule.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1036; 2012, c. 614.

Article 2. Jurisdiction.

§ 64.2-2105. Definitions; significant connection factors.

A. In this article:

"Emergency" means a circumstance that likely will result in substantial harm to a respondent's health, safety, or welfare, and for which the appointment of a guardian is necessary because no other person has authority and is willing to act on the respondent's behalf.

"Home state" means the state in which the respondent was physically present, including any period of temporary absence, for at least six consecutive months immediately before the filing of a petition for a conservatorship order or the appointment of a guardian, or if none, the state in which the respondent was physically present, including any period of temporary absence, for at least six consecutive months ending within the six months prior to the filing of the petition.

"Significant-connection state" means a state, other than the home state, with which a respondent has a significant connection other than mere physical presence and in which substantial evidence concerning the respondent is available.

B. In determining under § 64.2-2107 and subsection E of § 64.2-2114 whether a respondent has a significant connection with a particular state, the court shall consider:

1. The location of the respondent's family and other persons required to be notified of the guardianship or protective proceeding;

2. The length of time the respondent at any time was physically present in the state and the duration of any absence;

3. The location of the respondent's property; and

4. The extent to which the respondent has ties to the state such as voting registration, state or local tax return filing, vehicle registration, driver's license, social relationship, and receipt of services.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1037; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2106. Exclusive basis.

This article provides the exclusive jurisdictional basis for a court of the Commonwealth to appoint a guardian or issue a conservatorship order for an adult.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1038; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2107. Jurisdiction.

A court of the Commonwealth has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or issue a conservatorship order for a respondent if:

1. The Commonwealth is the respondent's home state;

2. On the date the petition is filed, the Commonwealth is a significant-connection state and:

a. The respondent does not have a home state or a court of the respondent's home state has declined to exercise jurisdiction because the Commonwealth is a more appropriate forum; or

b. The respondent has a home state, a petition for an appointment or order is not pending in a court of that state or another significant-connection state, and, before the court makes the appointment or issues the order:

(1) A petition for an appointment or order is not filed in the respondent's home state;

(2) An objection to the court's jurisdiction is not filed by a person required to be notified of the proceeding; and

(3) The court in the Commonwealth concludes that it is an appropriate forum under the factors set forth in § 64.2-2110;

3. The Commonwealth does not have jurisdiction under either subdivision 1 or 2, the respondent's home state and all significant-connection states have declined to exercise jurisdiction because the Commonwealth is the more appropriate forum, and jurisdiction in the Commonwealth is consistent with the Constitutions of Virginia and the United States; or

4. The requirements for special jurisdiction under § 64.2-2108 are met.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1039; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2108. Special jurisdiction.

A. A court of the Commonwealth lacking jurisdiction under the provisions of § 64.2-2107 has special jurisdiction to do any of the following:

1. Appoint a guardian in an emergency for a term not exceeding 90 days for a respondent who is physically present in the Commonwealth;

2. Issue a conservatorship order with respect to real or tangible personal property located in the Commonwealth; or

3. Appoint a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated or protected person for whom a provisional order to transfer the proceeding from another state has been issued under procedures similar to § 64.2-2114.

B. If a petition for the appointment of a guardian in an emergency is brought in the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth was not the respondent's home state on the date the petition was filed, the court shall dismiss the proceeding at the request of the court of the home state, if any, whether dismissal is requested before or after the emergency appointment.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1040; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2109. Exclusive and continuing jurisdiction.

Except as otherwise provided in § 64.2-2108, a court that has appointed a guardian or issued a conservatorship order consistent with this chapter has exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over the proceeding until it is terminated by the court or the appointment or order expires by its own terms.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1041; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2110. Appropriate forum.

A. A court of the Commonwealth having jurisdiction under § 64.2-2107 to appoint a guardian or issue a conservatorship order may decline to exercise its jurisdiction if it determines at any time that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum.

B. If a court of the Commonwealth declines to exercise its jurisdiction under subsection A, it shall either dismiss or stay the proceeding. The court may impose any condition the court considers just and proper, including the condition that a petition for the appointment of a guardian or issuance of a conservatorship order be filed promptly in another state.

C. In determining whether it is an appropriate forum, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

1. Any expressed preference of the respondent;

2. Whether abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the respondent has occurred or is likely to occur and which state could best protect the respondent from the abuse, neglect, or exploitation;

3. The length of time the respondent was physically present in or was a legal resident of the Commonwealth or another state;

4. The distance of the respondent from the court in each state;

5. The financial circumstances of the respondent's estate;

6. The nature and location of the evidence;

7. The ability of the court in each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present evidence;

8. The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the proceeding; and

9. If an appointment were made, the court's ability to monitor the conduct of the guardian or conservator.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1042; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2111. Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct.

A. If at any time a court of the Commonwealth determines that it acquired jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or issue a conservatorship order because a person seeking to invoke its jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct, the court may:

1. Decline to exercise jurisdiction;

2. Exercise jurisdiction for the limited purpose of fashioning an appropriate remedy to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the respondent or the protection of the respondent's property or to prevent a repetition of the unjustifiable conduct, including staying the proceeding until a petition for the appointment of a guardian or issuance of a conservatorship order is filed in a court of another state having jurisdiction; or

3. Continue to exercise jurisdiction after considering:

a. The extent to which the respondent and all persons required to be notified of the proceedings have acquiesced in the exercise of the court's jurisdiction;

b. Whether it is a more appropriate forum than the court of any other state under the factors set forth in subsection C of § 64.2-2110; and

c. Whether the court of any other state would have jurisdiction under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of § 64.2-2107.

B. If a court of the Commonwealth determines that it acquired jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or issue a conservatorship order because a party seeking to invoke its jurisdiction engaged in unjustifiable conduct, it may assess against that party necessary and reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, investigative fees, court costs, communication expenses, witness fees and expenses, and travel expenses. The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses of any kind against the Commonwealth or a governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Commonwealth unless authorized by law other than this chapter.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1043; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2112. Notice of proceeding.

If a petition for the appointment of a guardian or issuance of a conservatorship order is brought in the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth was not the respondent's home state on the date the petition was filed, in addition to complying with the notice requirements of the Commonwealth, notice of the petition shall be given to those persons who would be entitled to notice of the petition if a proceeding were brought in the respondent's home state. The notice shall be given in the same manner as notice is required to be given in the Commonwealth.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1044; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2113. Proceedings in more than one state.

Except for a petition for the appointment of a guardian in an emergency or issuance of a conservatorship order limited to property located in the Commonwealth under subdivision A 1 or A 2 of § 64.2-2108, if a petition for the appointment of a guardian or issuance of a conservatorship order is filed in the Commonwealth and in another state and neither petition has been dismissed or withdrawn, the following rules apply:

1. If the court in the Commonwealth has jurisdiction under § 64.2-2107, it may proceed with the case unless a court in another state acquires jurisdiction under provisions similar to § 64.2-2107 before the appointment or issuance of the order.

2. If the court in the Commonwealth does not have jurisdiction under § 64.2-2107, whether at the time the petition is filed or at any time before the appointment or issuance of the order, the court shall stay the proceeding and communicate with the court in the other state. If the court in the other state has jurisdiction, the court in the Commonwealth shall dismiss the petition unless the court in the other state determines that the court in the Commonwealth is a more appropriate forum.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1045; 2012, c. 614.

Article 3. Transfer of Guardianship or Conservatorship.

§ 64.2-2114. Transfer of guardianship or conservatorship to another state.

A. A guardian or conservator appointed in the Commonwealth may petition the court to transfer the guardianship or conservatorship to another state.

B. Notice of a petition under subsection A shall be given to the persons that would be entitled to notice of a petition in the Commonwealth for the appointment of a guardian or conservator.

C. On the court's own motion or on request of the guardian or conservator, the incapacitated or protected person, or other person required to be notified of the petition, the court shall hold a hearing on a petition filed pursuant to subsection A.

D. The court shall issue an order provisionally granting a petition to transfer a guardianship and shall direct the guardian to petition for guardianship in the other state if the court is satisfied that the guardianship will be accepted by the court in the other state and the court finds that:

1. The incapacitated person is physically present in or is reasonably expected to move permanently to the other state;

2. An objection to the transfer has not been made or, if an objection has been made, the objector has not established that the transfer would be contrary to the interests of the incapacitated person; and

3. Plans for care and services for the incapacitated person in the other state are reasonable and sufficient.

E. The court shall issue a provisional order granting a petition to transfer a conservatorship and shall direct the conservator to petition for conservatorship in the other state if the court is satisfied that the conservatorship will be accepted by the court of the other state and the court finds that:

1. The protected person is physically present in or is reasonably expected to move permanently to the other state, or the protected person has a significant connection to the other state considering the factors in subsection B of § 64.2-2105;

2. An objection to the transfer has not been made or, if an objection has been made, the objector has not established that the transfer would be contrary to the interests of the protected person; and

3. Adequate arrangements will be made for management of the protected person's property.

F. The court shall issue a final order confirming the transfer and terminating the guardianship or conservatorship upon its receipt of:

1. A provisional order accepting the proceeding from the court to which the proceeding is to be transferred which is issued under provisions similar to § 64.2-2115; and

2. The documents required to terminate a guardianship or conservatorship in the Commonwealth.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1046; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2115. Accepting guardianship or conservatorship transferred from another state.

A. To confirm transfer of a guardianship or conservatorship transferred to the Commonwealth under provisions similar to § 64.2-2114, the guardian or conservator shall petition the court in the Commonwealth to accept the guardianship or conservatorship. The petition shall include a certified copy of the other state's provisional order of transfer.

B. Notice of a petition under subsection A shall be given to those persons that would be entitled to notice if the petition were a petition for the appointment of a guardian or issuance of a conservatorship order in both the transferring state and the Commonwealth. The notice shall be given in the same manner as notice is required to be given in the Commonwealth.

C. On the court's own motion or on request of the guardian or conservator, the incapacitated or protected person, or other person required to be notified of the proceeding, the court shall hold a hearing on a petition filed pursuant to subsection A.

D. The court shall issue an order provisionally granting a petition filed under subsection A unless:

1. An objection is made and the objector establishes that transfer of the proceeding would be contrary to the interests of the incapacitated or protected person; or

2. The guardian or conservator is ineligible for appointment in the Commonwealth.

E. The court shall issue a final order accepting the proceeding and appointing the guardian or conservator as guardian or conservator in the Commonwealth upon its receipt from the court from which the proceeding is being transferred of a final order issued under provisions similar to § 64.2-2114 transferring the proceeding to the Commonwealth.

The final order accepting transfer of a guardianship or conservatorship shall contain a determination of whether the guardianship or conservatorship needs to be modified to conform to the laws of the Commonwealth.

F. In granting a petition under this section, the court shall recognize a guardianship or conservatorship order from the other state, including the determination of the incapacitated or protected person's incapacity and the appointment of the guardian or conservator.

G. The denial by a court of the Commonwealth of a petition to accept a guardianship or conservatorship transferred from another state does not affect the ability of the guardian or conservator to seek appointment as guardian or conservator in the Commonwealth under Chapter 20 (§ 64.2-2000 et seq.) if the court has jurisdiction to make an appointment other than by reason of the provisional order of transfer.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1047; 2012, c. 614.

Article 4. Registration and Recognition of Orders from Other States.

§ 64.2-2116. Registration of guardianship orders.

If a guardian has been appointed in another state and a petition for the appointment of a guardian is not pending in the Commonwealth, the guardian appointed in the other state, after giving notice to the appointing court of an intent to register, may register the guardianship order in the Commonwealth by filing as a foreign judgment in a court, in any appropriate county or city of the Commonwealth, certified copies of the order and letters of office.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1048; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2117. Registration of conservatorship orders.

If a conservator has been appointed in another state and a petition for a conservatorship order is not pending in the Commonwealth, the conservator appointed in the other state, after giving notice to the appointing court of an intent to register, may register the conservatorship order in the Commonwealth by filing as a foreign judgment in a court of the Commonwealth, in any county or city in which property belonging to the protected person is located, certified copies of the order and letters of office and of any bond.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1049; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2118. Effect of registration.

A. Upon registration of a guardianship or conservatorship order from another state, the guardian or conservator may exercise in the Commonwealth all powers authorized in the order of appointment except as prohibited under the laws of the Commonwealth, including maintaining actions and proceedings in the Commonwealth and, if the guardian or conservator is not a resident of the Commonwealth, subject to any conditions imposed upon nonresident parties.

B. A court of the Commonwealth may grant any relief available under this chapter and other laws of the Commonwealth to enforce a registered order.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1050; 2012, c. 614.

Article 5. Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 64.2-2119. Uniformity of application and construction.

In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration shall be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1051; 2012, c. 614.

§ 64.2-2120. Relation to electronic signatures in global and national commerce act.

This chapter modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (15 U.S.C. § 7001 et seq.), but does not modify, limit, or supersede § 101(c) of that act (15 U.S.C. § 7001(c)) or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in § 103(b) of that act (15 U.S.C. § 7003(b)).

2011, c. 518, § 37.2-1052; 2012, c. 614.

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