Estate Planning & Guardianship

Every adult should have three documents: a durable power of attorney; an advance medical directive; and a last will and testament.  These documents need to be prepared while the adult is competent.

A power of attorney authorizes someone to act on your behalf.  A general power of attorney covers your property and finances.  It allows your agent to access your accounts to pay your bills, sell your real property, and make purchases on your behalf.  It is effective only while you are alive; it is not a substitute for a will.  If a person becomes incompetent and does not have a power of attorney, family members must petition the court to have a conservator appointed for the incapacitated person.  The court process results in a time delay, additional expenses, and a duty to file accountings.

An advance medical directive covers your person.  This directive authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so.  It is effective only while you are alive.  If a person becomes incompetent without having an advance medical directive, family members must petition the court to have a guardian appointed for the incapacitated person.

A last will and testament saves expense in the settlement of your estate.  You can specify who receives what items of your property, who handles the settlement of your estate, who handles funds held in trust for a minor beneficiary, and under what restrictions can trust funds be used for the beneficiary.

Contact our office to learn how we can help with your estate planning needs.

Guardians, Conservators, and Alternatives for Incapacitated Adults

In Virginia, when an individual reaches the age of majority (18 years old), that person is automatically granted the right to make his or her own decisions regarding healthcare, residence, finances, and other day-to-day needs. However, in some cases, a soon to be adult may not be capable of making informed decisions about these issues usually due to severe cognitive and/or physical impairments. Other individuals may not be able to care for themselves later in life due to physical or cognitive limitations or conditions due to age, injuries, illness or permanent disability. In such situations, the incapacitated adult typically needs to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed by the court to ensure support and safety.

What is a guardian or conservator?

In Virginia, a guardian is an individual that a court appoints to make decisions regarding the personal affairs of an incapacitated person. A conservator is an individual appointed by the court who is responsible for handling the estate and financial affairs of an incapacitated person. The same person can serve as both guardian and conservator for an incapacitated adult when both roles are needed. The purpose of both is to look out for the best interests of an incapacitated person when that individual no longer can do so.

How are guardians and conservators appointed?

In order for a guardian to be appointed, a court must find that the adult lacks the capacity to meet the essential requirements for his or her health, care, safety, and/or therapeutic needs without the assistance or protection of a guardian. In order for a conservator to be appointed, a court must find that the adult lacks the capacity to manage property or financial affairs without the assistance or protection of a conservator. Both of these standards are very high bars – a person must not simply be prone to making bad decisions, but rather wholly incapable of making informed decisions at all. A court requires an independent finding and evaluation by a licensed professional (typically a medical or mental health provider) in order to protect the alleged incapacitated adult and to help the court determine the extent of their incapacity. Additionally, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem (“GAL”) to represent the interests of the alleged incapacitated adult. The GAL is not the incapacitated adult’s attorney and the incapacitated adult has the right to hire an attorney in addition to having the GAL.

Are there any alternatives?

While a guardianship and/or conservatorship may be appropriate for some situations, they are drastic measures that that take away the right of an incapacitated adult to make one’s own decisions regarding personal or financial affairs. In most cases, a person under a guardianship loses the right to drive, vote, and marry, among other rights. Accordingly, a guardianship may not be appropriate for every situation and there are other options available.

A durable power of attorney may be a suitable alternative to a guardianship or conservatorship. With a durable power of attorney, an individual can appoint an agent to manage his or her property and financial affairs in case he or she becomes incapacitated. A durable power of attorney must be created prior to an individual becoming incapacitated.

Similarly, an advanced medical directive also may be a viable alternative to a guardianship. An advanced medical directive allows an appointed agent to make medical decisions for an individual when one is no longer able to do so. This document allows the appointed agent to do such things as authorize treatment, hire medical providers, authorize admission into a hospital, deal with insurance companies, and make end-of-life decisions consistent with the expressed wishes of the individual.

At Locke and Quinn, we have experience in handling guardianships, conservatorships, and alternatives to guardianship. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about these services.

Contact Us Today
Where do you go when you need an attorney? Most times you have no idea because there are hundreds of attorneys out there all claiming to be the best. I was able to find Attorney Quinn on the internet. I chose her because of her superior rating and prompt response. Attorney Quinn read my case and then gave me the legal reasons why it would be a difficult case to pursue. Based on her clear , thorough explanations, I decided to bring closure to the matter. It was the best decision I could have ever made. Thank you, Ms. Quinn and Peg, for the professional assistance you provided !!!!!!!!!!!! Brenda Williams Jones
brenda jones
brenda jones
Domestic Interstate Adoption finalization---Great team and outstanding legal services. From the first call to receive information to thr actual work of completing the adoption, the process was straightforward and I felt confident I picked the right attorney. Highly recommend Colleen Quinn and her impressive team. Charli was the absolute best!
Heather J
Heather J
Colleen, thank you for taking my case and providing me the closure I needed in settling a medical negligence issue. Because of your diligence and support, I can breathe a lot easier knowing that my experience hasn't gone unnoticed and without liability on the provider's behalf. Your communication and support are appreciated by me and my husband and our family; after many turn-downs from other firms, we are grateful to have found you and your team. I will continue to recommend you to those looking for a compassionate lawyer who will fight for the closure and results that women direly need in whatever situations they face. THANK YOU!!
Kia Johnson
Kia Johnson
Colleen, thank you for taking my case and providing me the closure I needed in settling a medical negligence issue. Because of your diligence and support, I can breathe a lot easier knowing that my experience hasn't gone unnoticed and without liability on the provider's behalf. Your communication and support are appreciated by me and my husband and our family; after many turn-downs from other firms, we are grateful to have found you and your team. I will continue to recommend you to those looking for a compassionate lawyer who will fight for the closure and results that women direly need in whatever situations they face. THANK YOU!!
Kia Johnson
Kia Johnson
Anastasia Eddleton
Anastasia Eddleton
Colleen and her legal team are top notch, friendly, efficient and would 100% reccomend and/or use again
Katie Oakes
Katie Oakes
We worked with attorney Colleen Quinn who is a AAAA adoption attorney. She is very knowledgeable about adoption as well as a very personable attorney. She helped guide us through a smooth adoption process. Her paralegal Charli is pretty amazing as well. We appreciate everything that you did for us. I also think your pricing is very affordable!!!!
Michelle Bower
Michelle Bower
The team at Locke & Quinn are the best.
Rene Haines
Rene Haines
Grateful to work with Colleen again on our second private adoption in 4 years! Thankful for her timeliness, effective commmunication, and outstanding staff.
Michelle Spencer
Michelle Spencer
So thrilled to work with Colleen Quinn once again for our second private adoption! Especially appreciate the timely, attentive, and effective communication with Colleen and her staff.
Michelle Spencer
Michelle Spencer
Stepdaughter adoption- My 8yr old daughter's biological father moved to another country. After 4 yrs and little to no contact I thought there was no way this would happen without a big headache. Well, I was wrong; to say everything I need t say I will give in bullet points: Caring, Personable, Upfront, Follow-up, Efficient, Economical, Experienced and Awesome.
Chris Perdue
Chris Perdue
As a client of Colleen Quinn I immediately knew her confidence and knowledge was what I needed for my medical malpractice suit. When 5 other Attorneys told me I had no case and wouldn't even listen to me, Colleen took time with me and immediately knew we had to go for it. 3 years later we have triumphed. She and her wonderful team had my back, supported me, and cheered me on the whole way. They never left my side, doubted me or stopped believing in me. Let the next chapter begin. I would definitely recommend Locke & Quinn. Thank you Colleen!!
Melissa Herring
Melissa Herring
I can't say enough good things about Colleen and her team. They have handled 2 step parent adoptions for us and 1 for a friend. Colleen is upfront about her plans for your case and made me feel very confident about our outcome. Charli her assistant is amazing and answered any questions I had quickly. If you are looking for a attorney who truly invests themselves in their work and really knows what they are doing you want Colleen.
Brandi Witherspoon
Brandi Witherspoon
My husband and I just recently finalized the adoption of our son thanks to Colleen! Our situation happened FAST, and Colleen never missed a beat. Colleen, Katie and Charli were all quick to answer any questions we had and made us feel confident in their ability to provide the services needed. We were blown away at the knowledge and organization Colleen had throughout this process as well! We intend to continue to grow our family through adoption again, and will be using Locke & Quinn!
Ashley Halsey
Ashley Halsey
My husband and I would definatly recomend Coleen for step parent adoptions. The process was quick and went smoothly. Her assistant Charlie was extremly helpful during the process as well. All and all they were extremly knowledgable on what needed to be done during the process which I feel made things go smoothly.
Bathsheba Colinborough
Bathsheba Colinborough
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed R
Ahmed R
Great experience!! Everything I needed they took care of with a timely fashion! Highly recommend!
Morgan Williams Seay
Morgan Williams Seay
They were very professional and helpful with my unique case for the adoption of my son. I would recommend Colleen Quinn and her team to anybody that is looking for adoption.
Nate Davenport
Nate Davenport
kathleen cossaboon
kathleen cossaboon
Bob Stiepock
Bob Stiepock
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OF COLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
Lisa Moore Walker
Lisa Moore Walker
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OF COLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
beLIeVE Fitness
beLIeVE Fitness
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
After doing quite a bit of research on the adoption process, we decided to set up an initial consultation with Colleen, and we found that first session very beneficial and informative. There were many things that impressed us about Colleen from the very beginning: her level of expertise and reputation as an adoption attorney, the accolades she's received throughout her career, her friendly and personable nature, and her willingness to provide us with comprehensive information about the adoption process including projected fees. We also wanted to make sure that we were being well represented and advocated for, and quickly knew that Colleen would not only guide us through the adoption process, but advocate for us as well. Colleen is both passionate about what she does and compassionate toward all parties involved in the adoption process.Colleen’s paralegal, CharSalle (Charli) is an absolute treasure! Charli was readily available to answer questions by phone or by email. She would reach out to us if there was a birth mother interested in speaking or meeting with us after reviewing our profile. We were matched with a birth mother in November 2014, and our daughter was born in February 2015. Colleen and Charli guided us through the initial meetings with the birth parents, the open adoption agreements, and they stayed in touch with us by phone and email when our daughter was born. Our adoption was finalized in six months, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of communication we received, and continue to receive, from Colleen and Charli as well as the level of expertise and true passion they have for guiding families through the adoption process. We highly recommend Colleen, Charli, and the staff at Locke & Quinn to anyone considering adoption!!!!
Joe Ana
Joe Ana
My wife and I adopted a babygirl in 2015. A friend of mine, whose daughter is lawyer, recommended Colleen Quinn. We went for our initial consultation and we could tell immediately that Colleen was very knowledgeable and professional. She went into detail and gave us the costs associated with the adoption as well as every single step in the process. Colleen is very welcoming and easy to talk to. We cannot leave this review without mentioning our primary contact, Colleen's paralegal, CharSalle Charles (Charli). Without Charli, I don't think we would have made it through the adoption. Charli was there anytime we called to answer our questions and to provide support for us. Charli even came to the hospital the day after our daughter was born, to handle all the paperwork between us and the birth mother. We truly thank Locke and Quinn and especially Charli for their hard work and support. Our adoption was even finalized a month in advance of the initial date set forth. We highly recommend Locke and Quinn to any looking to adopt!!!
Tierre Christmas
Tierre Christmas
Cathy Tyree Herb
Cathy Tyree Herb
Colleen and the team at Locke & Quinn was very helpful guiding us through our adoption with minimal issues - would recommend based on their knowledge and experience.
Chris _
Chris _
Colleen is an excellent attorney. She fights for her clients and takes care of them every step of the way.
Kim Miller
Kim Miller

 

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