Essentials of Effective GAL for Incapacitated Persons Representation (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
GAL for Incapacitated
Persons CE Credit
2.0 (GAL Information)
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 01/31/2024


A pre-recorded streaming AUDIO replay of the November 2020 webcast, Essentials of Effective GAL for Incapacitated Persons Representation.

Topics Covered

Being an effective GAL requires more than just competence; it calls for a deep understanding of the statutory requirements in guardianship proceedings as well as the longer-term obligations of the guardian and conservator.

  • Review recent changes to the guardianship laws
  • Become familiar with issues that petitioner’s counsel may overlook involving younger respondents
  • Learn about options for the respondent to retain the right to vote or drive
  • Be prepared to second-guess counsel’s decisions about whether a conservator is needed and other issues
  • Know what concerns the Commissioners of Accounts have about conservatorships

The General Assembly made numerous changes to Title 64.2, Chapter 20, effective July 1, 2020. These changes impose additional obligations on guardians ad litem with which they need to be familiar. While GALs have a duty to represent the best interests of the respondent, GALs have an important role to play in ensuring that counsel for the parties have fulfilled all of the statutory requirements and that the order entered in the matter does not impose unnecessary burdens on the fiduciaries. An effective GAL should be prepared to take an active role in the proceedings on equal footing with counsel. The GAL should look further down the road than the entry of the order and be prepared to raise with counsel issues that they may not have considered.

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Rebecca C. Hryvniak, Scott | Kroner, PLC / Charlottesville
Neal L. Walters, Scott | Kroner, PLC / Charlottesville


Rebecca C. Hryvniak, Scott | Kroner, PLC / Charlottesville
Rebecca Hryvniak is the Commissioner of Accounts for the Albemarle County Circuit Court. As Commissioner, she is responsible for the review and approval of the Inventory and Annual Accounts prepared by conservators who have been appointed for incapacitated adults.

Ms. Hryvniak has represented parties in contested and uncontested guardianship and conservatorship litigation and is a certified guardian ad litem for incapacitated adults. She has served as a fiduciary for incapacitated adults, including appointments as conservator, trustee, and executor/administrator. Ms. Hryvniak has practiced estate planning, with a focus on special needs planning, since she graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 2009. She is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting.

Neal L. Walters, Scott | Kroner, PLC / Charlottesville
Neal Walters maintains a general civil practice, handling litigation in state and federal courts throughout the Commonwealth. His older son has Down syndrome, and as a result Mr. Walters has been involved with incapacity issues for almost 25 years. He represents petitioners in uncontested incapacity cases, and petitioners, respondents, and others in contested incapacity litigation. He has been a court-certified guardian ad litem in Virginia for 20 years. He regularly serves as guardian and conservator for incapacitated adults.

In addition to his litigation and fiduciary practice, Mr. Walters also assists clients with public benefits issues and special needs estate planning, including trusts and alternatives to guardianship. In addition to preparing special needs trusts and other estate planning documents for clients, he regularly serves as executor and administrator of estates as well as trustee for trusts. He and his firm provide trustee and administrative services for special needs trusts.

Mr. Walters is also active in disability-related matters outside of his law practice. He has served on the board of directors and as president of The Arc of the Piedmont, Inc., and is presently on the board of the Commonwealth Community Trust, a provider of pooled trust services for people with disabilities. He was appointed by the City of Charlottesville to two terms on the board of the Region Ten Community Services Board. He is a frequent presenter on incapacity and related issues for the Virginia Institute of Autism, Virginia CLE®, and others.

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