Guardianship Litigation: Beyond the Basics

Information

“Guardianship litigation” refers to a judicial proceeding to have an adult declared incapacitated and to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed for that adult. Like other forms of family-related litigation, guardianship litigation appears to be on the rise.

This briefing is derived from the materials prepared for the 22nd Annual Advanced Elder Law Update Seminar, presented in September 2013 by Virginia CLE®. It is available in in a searchable PDF via immediate download. Click here for more information on electronic books.

CONTENT SUMMARY

  1. Introduction
  2. Less Restrictive Alternatives
  3. Pre-Litigation Considerations
  4. Jurisdictional Issues
  5. The Petition
  6. Answering The Petition
  7. Medical Evaluation
  8. The Hearing
  9. Costs And Fees

Copyright © 2013 Virginia Law Foundation. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

    A. Guardianship litigation is on the rise
    
    B. Contributing factors

II. LESS RESTRICTIVE ALTERNATIVES

    A. Significance of less restrictive alternatives
    
    B. Powers of attorney
    
    C. Advance medical directives
    
    D. Health Care Decisions Act
    
    E. Non-probate transfers
    
    F. Disclosure of terms of estate plan
    
    G. Remedies under the Power of Attorney Act

III. PRE-LITIGATION CONSIDERATIONS

    A. Due diligence
    
    B. “Discovery” under the Power of Attorney Act

IV. JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES

    A. Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act
    
    B. General jurisdiction under the UGJA
    
    There are three statutory grounds for a court in Virginia to exercise general jurisdiction to appoint a guardian
    
    C. Special jurisdiction under the UGJA
    
    If the court lacks jurisdiction under § 64.2-2107, it may nonetheless exercise special jurisdiction in the following     circumstances
    
    D. Continuing jurisdiction
    
    E. Anti-abuse provisions
    
    F. Venue

V. KEY DEFINITIONS

    A. Incapacitated person
    
    B. Estate and property
    
    C. Guardian and conservator

VI. THE PETITION

    A. Minimum pleading requirements
    
    B. Statutory pleading requirements
    
    C. Going beyond the statutory pleading requirements
    
VII. ANSWERING THE PETITION

    A. Timing.
    
    B. Answer
    
    C. Failure to join necessary parties
    
    D. Demurrer
    
    E. Special plea or plea in bar
    
    F. Separate petition, counterclaims and cross-claims

VIII. MEDICAL EVALUATION

    A. The requirement of a medical evaluation
    
    B. Arranging the medical evaluation
    
    C. Conducting the evaluation
    
    D. Report as evidence

IX. THE HEARING

    A. Rights of the respondent
    
    B. Location and time of the hearing
    
    C. Role of proposed guardian and conservator
    
    D. Evaluating and deciding the case

X. COSTS AND FEES

    A. Basis for award of fees
    
    B. Proving a claim for attorney’s fees

Authors

Matthew M. Farley, Armstrong Bristow Farley & Schwarzschild PLC/Richmond, VA

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