In cases where incapacity of an individual is alleged, the court must appoint a discreet and competent attorney at law as a Guardian ad litem to investigate the allegations and report the findings and recommendations to the court.
Guardianship restricts the decisions that a person may make and should be sought only when there are no other options available. A guardian may be limited to making specific kinds of decisions, rather than all decisions, if the court decides that limits are appropriate.
Ms. Oram-Smith is certified by the Virginia Supreme Court for appointment as Guardian ad litem for both children and adults.
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What is Guardianship and Conservatorship?
Guardian ad litem (GAL) literally means "guardian for the suit." A guardian ad litem in the state of Virginia is an attorney appointed by a judge to assist the court in determining the circumstances of a matter before the court.
A guardian is like a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make personal and/or medical decisions for a minor or an adult with mental or physical disabilities.
A conservator is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make financial decisions for a minor or an adult with mental or physical incapacity.
Only a Circuit Court judge can decide that a person is incapacitated and appoint a guardian and/or a conservator to act for the incapacitated individual.