Representation of Incapacitated Persons as a Guardian Ad Litem — 2022 Qualifying Course

MCLE Credits: 6.0
Ethics Credits Included: 1.0

MCLE Credit: 6.0 (Ethics: 1.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit:
1.0 Ethics (Designations Information)
GAL for Incapacitated
Persons CE Credit
6.0 (GAL Information)
Price: $249 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 02/28/2025


A pre-recorded streaming VIDEO from the February 2022 seminar, Representation of Incapacitated Persons as a Guardian Ad Litem-2022 Qualifying Course.

To be appointed as a guardian ad litem for an incapacitated person in Virginia, members of the bar must meet the standards set forth by the Judicial Council of Virginia. This six-hour course meets the training requirement under these standards. All attorneys who wish to qualify for court appointment as GALs for incapacitated persons in Virginia must take this course.

This course provides procedural and practical information for litigators, family lawyers, trust and estate lawyers, and elder law practitioners involved in proceedings with GALs appointed to represent incapacitated persons.

Then what should you do? This course will teach you the basics, including:

  • What starts the whole process?
  • How is a GAL appointed?
  • What are your duties as a GAL?
  • What community resources are there to assist you?
  • How do you determine if a guardian and/or conservator is needed?
  • Are there alternatives to a guardian/conservator?
  • What are the duties of the guardian and conservator?
  • What ethical rules apply to you as GAL?

For more information on becoming a GAL for incapacitated persons in Virginia, please contact the Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia, 100 North Ninth Street, Third Floor, Richmond, VA 23219 (804-786-6455) or visit this website:

Please note this is the course necessary to become initially qualified as a GAL for incapacitated persons in Virginia.  If you are already a qualified GAL for incapacitated persons in Virginia and are looking to take a GAL program to comply with your continuing education requirements (6 hours every two years), you may repeat this initial qualifying program only once within a six-year period. For example, you are certified as a GAL in 2020.  You may retake this initial qualifying course for GAL credit again in 2022, but then would have to wait until 2028 to take this course again for GAL credit.

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Introduction and Appointment Process
Raymond L.  Clarke
  • Definitions
  • Evaluation Report
  • Petition
  • Notice
  • Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem
  • Hearing
  • Order
Role of the Guardian Ad Litem for Adults and of Counsel for Respondent
Jean G.  Ball, Kimberley Ann Murphy
  • Duties of the GAL
  • GAL Report
  • Respondent’s Right to Counsel
  • Role of Counsel
  • GAL as Mediator
  • Determining Real Issues in Controversy
  • GAL Role in Drafting the Orders
Requirements to Become a Guardian Ad Litem for Incapacitated Adults
Jennifer M. Newman
  • Initial Qualification and Training
  • Recurrent Training
Adult Guardianship Alternatives
Sherri L. Nelson
  • Power of Attorney
  • Living Trust
  • Joint Accounts
  • Advance Directive
  • Civil Commitment           
Aging, Disability, and Community Resources
Neal L. Walters
  • Dynamics of Incapacity
  • Communication
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Medical Terminology
  • Reading Medical Reports
  • Medicaid/Medicare
  • Local and State Agencies
  • Public Guardianship
Role of the Guardian/Role of the Conservator
Ann M. Green
  • Qualification
  • Duties and Powers
  • Annual Reports
  • Revocation or Modification           
Ethical Considerations:  Representing the Impaired Client
Frank A. Thomas, III

Many issues arise that deserve special consideration, including:

  • The ethics rules indicate that the lawyer may be obligated to make decisions for the impaired client. Under what circumstances does this occur? Which decisions are appropriate?
  • A client is presumed to be competent. How will you know when the client is incompetent?
  • To whom may a lawyer disclose confidence and when?
  • The lawyer’s role in the guardianship proceedings         



Jean G.  Ball, Jean Galloway Ball, P.L.C. / Fairfax
Raymond L. Clarke / Charlottesville
Ann McGee Green, Anderson, Desimone and Green, P.C. / Roanoke
Kimberley Ann Murphy, Hale Ball / Fairfax
Sherri L. Nelson, Geddy, Harris, Franck & Hickman, LLP / Williamsburg
Jennifer M. Newman, Court Improvement Program, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia / Richmond
Frank A. Thomas III, Frank A. Thomas, III PLC  / Orange

Neal L. Walters, Scott Kroner, PLC / Charlottesville


Jean G. Ball, Jean Galloway Ball, P.L.C. / Fairfax

Jean Galloway Ball is an honors graduate of the National Law Center, George Washington University. She did her undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in history.

Mrs. Ball is certified in Elder Law by the National Elder Law Foundation. This certification is predicated on demonstrated knowledge and experience in numerous areas of law relevant to senior citizens and disabled persons. She is a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners. She has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Mrs. Ball is admitted to practice in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and serves clients in all three jurisdictions. She has an “AV” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell. For the years 2007 through 2016 she was selected as a SuperLawyer in the field of Elder Law for Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area and was named one of the top 50-woman attorneys in Virginia.

Mrs. Ball has served as a member of the Medical Ethics Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, on the Board of Directors of Collington Episcopal Life Care Community, a continuing care retirement community in Maryland and as a member and President of the Board of Directors of the Insight Memory Care Center (formerly Alzheimer’s Family Day Center), a non-profit organization providing day care for victims of Alzheimer’s disease and support to their families and caregivers in Northern Virginia. She is a past two term President of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorney, a chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (“NAELA”), and Chair of the Steering/Program Committee for the Council of Advance Practitioners of NAELA.

Mrs. Ball’s practice focus on life-care and estate planning for all ages, elder law, special needs planning for disabled adults, guardianship/conservator proceedings, probate, trust administration and related fiduciary litigation, including contested guardianships, protection of vulnerable adults from financial exploitation, will and trust contests, requests for accountings from agents and trustees, and elective share claims.

Raymond L. Clarke / Charlottesville

Raymond L. Clarke graduated from the University of Richmond in 1968, received a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Virginia in 1973, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1980. He has been in private solo practice since 1980. Mr. Clarke is Charlottesville’s senior Special Justice for civil commitments, an appointment he has held since March of 1987. He is on the adjunct faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia Medical Center, lecturing both there and at the UVA School of Law in the area of Mental Health Law. His law practice has focused on mental health and elder law.

Mr. Clarke has served as a guest lecturer for the Charlottesville Crisis Intervention Training seminars, training police officers who respond to mental health crisis calls, and for many years served as a Virginia Supreme Court certified guardian ad litem for incapacitated adults. He has been a lecturer for the Virginia Continuing Legal Education section of the Virginia Law Foundation, providing training for attorneys acting as court appointed guardian’s ad litem, and has served as a panelist for the Virginia Supreme Court’s training programs for Special Justices presiding over the civil commitment process for mentally ill adults.

Ann McGee Green, Anderson, Desimone & Green, P.C. / Roanoke

Ann has been an attorney for more than 30 years and focuses her practice on the areas of elder law and estate planning, guardianship, estate and trust administration, Medicaid and Special Needs Planning. She has served as the faculty for the Virginia Continuing Legal Education Program of the Virginia Law Foundation in the areas of adult guardianship, ethics, special needs planning, elder law and estate planning. Ann works with her team at Anderson, Desimone & Green to serve her clients in all these areas. Ann has led a variety of estate planning seminars on Estate Planning, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, Special Needs Trusts and Guardianship for a variety of organizations throughout the Commonwealth.

Since 2007 she has been a member of the Special Needs Alliance, an organization comprised of America’s leading Disability and Public Benefits lawyers. Since 2009 she has been named the best elder law attorney in Southwest Virginia in Our Health Magazine. Each year since 2008 she has been chosen by her peers to be listed for estate planning and probate in the Virginia Super Lawyers publication, an honor given to only 5% of attorneys. She has been listed as a Top 50 Virginia Women attorney in Virginia Super Lawyers publication. Every year since 2010 she has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America.

Ann graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia with a degree in Economics. After spending two years as a legal assistant in Washington D.C., she returned to the University of Virginia to complete law school in 1986. After graduation, she served five years as the Executive Director of an urban ministry in Richmond, Virginia. In 1991, she began her private legal practice.

Ann is a member of the Trusts and Estates and Elder Law Sections of the Virginia Bar Association. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), where she is a member of the Trust Special Interest Group, the Virginia Chapter of NAELA, and is a member of the Virginia State Bar, Trusts and Estates Section. She is a Trustee for HopeTree Family Services where she serves as the Developmental Disabilities Committee Chairperson. She is also a Veteran’s Accredited Attorney. She is on the Board for the Roanoke Women’s foundation.

Ann is married to Barry Green, who is a talented musician and who is currently President of the Roanoke Valley Children’s choir Board of Directors. Ann and Barry have two adult children, Meredith, and Joshua.

Kimberley Ann Murphy, Hale Ball / Fairfax

Kimberley Ann Murphy, Esq., has been a partner and principal attorney of the law firm of Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy, PLC, in Fairfax, Virginia, since 2005. She had been an Associate with the firm since being admitted to the Virginia State Bar in October 2000. Attorney Murphy concentrates her practice in the areas of Estates and Trusts (administration and litigation), Elder Law (contested guardianship/conservatorship proceedings) and Business/Civil litigation. She has appeared on numerous occasions before many circuit courts throughout the Commonwealth, in addition to the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia. In 2007, Attorney Murphy was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Attorney Kimberley Murphy has published an article with the Virginia Bar Association's Wills, Trusts & Estates section as well as presented a seminar for funeral professionals for the International Order of the Golden Rule. She has presented CLE's for Virginia CLE, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the Fairfax Bar Association and National Business Institute. She was named to Best Lawyers in America beginning in 2014 for Trusts and Estates – Litigation, and 2015 for Trusts and Estates and Trusts and Estates – Litigation. She also received the distinction “Lawyer of the Year” for the Washington DC Area for years 2017 and 2019 for Trusts and Estates – Litigation. She attained an AV-rated peer review in 2014 and has been named to Super Lawyers since 2007.

Sherri L. Nelson, Geddy, Harris, Franck & Hickman, L.L.P. / Williamsburg

Sherri L. Nelson recently joined the law firm of Geddy, Harris, Franck & Hickman, LLP in Williamsburg, Virginia after practicing law in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA for over 15 years. She focuses her practice on estate planning, estate and trust administration, fiduciary litigation, guardianships/conservatorships, real estate and commercial litigation. Mrs. Nelson is a graduate from Radford University where she received her B.S. in English and Political Science and her M.A. in English. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the Moritz College of Law of The Ohio State University. She currently serves on the Board of the R.F. Wilkinson Family YMCA in Williamsburg and Hospice House of Williamsburg and is a member of the Williamsburg Bar Association.

Jennifer M. Newman, Court Improvement Program / Richmond

Jennifer M. Newman is the Staff Attorney for the Court Improvement Program in the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The CIP develops and facilitates the integration of procedures and best practices for court cases involving juvenile and family law. A particular focus for the program is on improving the court system’s ability to manage and resolve cases involving child abuse, neglect, foster care, and permanency planning for dependent children under state and federal laws and policies.
The CIP also supports implementation of Judicial Council of Virginia standards for guardian’s ad litem for children and incapacitated adults.

Jennifer M. Newman is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Richmond Law School. Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Newman opened her own law firm where she handled matters involving criminal appellate law, criminal law, family law, and focused on matters of child delinquency, child dependency and child welfare for over twenty years. She regularly served as Guardian ad litem for children and adults. Ms. Newman served on various work groups and panels involving the Chesterfield/Colonial Heights Department of Social Services and the Chesterfield Court Appointed Special Advocate program. Prior to her joining CIP, Ms. Newman was a member of the Chesterfield Best Practices Core Group, of the CIP Advisory Committee and of the CASA/CJA Advisory Committee. She has presented in panel discussions at several seminars and has also spoken as Guardian ad litem during PRIDE foster parent training and CASA volunteer training. Ms. Newman is also an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond Law School where she teaches appellate advocacy. Most importantly, Ms. Newman had the absolute pleasure and privilege of mentoring and practicing with her mother, a fellow Guardian ad litem, for nearly nine years.

Frank A. Thomas, III, Frank A. Thomas, III PLC / Orange

Frank A. Thomas, III was born in Charleston, West Virginia and attended its public schools. He graduated from the University of Virginia with the following degrees: BA with Distinction in English (1970); Master of the Arts in English (1971); and JD (1974). He was a member of the Virginia Law Review, serving as notes editor, and is a member of the Order of the Coif.

Mr. Thomas is married to the former Alexandra R. Smith (Zan). They live on a small farm where they have raised horses, sheep, dogs and chickens. They have also raised a daughter, Penelope, of whom they are very proud, and who in turn has three children of whom they also very proud.

Mr. Thomas was associated with the Richmond, Virginia office of the firm Hunton & Williams from 1974 to 1980, the Staunton, Virginia firm of Timberlake, Smith, Thomas & Moses from 1980 to 1985; and has been practicing in Orange, VA since 1985.

Mr. Thomas has served on the Board of Governors of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Virginia State Bar and as Section Chair. He has also served as Chair of the Wills, Trusts & Estates Section of the Virginia Bar Association, as well as on the Section’s Council and Legislative Committee. He is a past President of the Virginia Bar Association and a Past President of the Virginia Law Foundation. 7 Mr. Thomas serves as Assistant Commissioner of Accounts of Orange County, Virginia. He is a fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a fellow of The Virginia Law Foundation, and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

Neal L. Walters, Scott Kroner, PLC / Charlottesville

Neal L. 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 benefit 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, and is immediate past president, 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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