Law Office of Elizabeth Pendzich, PC

Elizabeth Pendzich

17A Royal Street, SE, Leesburg, VA 20175

(703) 669-1900

Fax: (703) 669-2000

Guardian vs. conservator?

A guardian is defined as someone who is legally responsible for the health care of a person who has been declared incapacitated by a court. A conservator, on the other hand, is someone who is legally responsible for managing the finances of a person who has been declared incapacitated by a court.

The process starts with a petition filed in the city or county where the respondent lives, or where she lived immediately prior to moving to a nursing home, assisted living facility or other institution.

Then, a hearing will be scheduled to prove that a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary and who should be appointed as a guardian or conservator.

Demonstrating poor judgment isn’t enough.

You will need to demonstrate that your loved one cannot receive and evaluate information effectively to manage her health care and financial affairs or is subject to exploitation. A report by a licensed professional evaluating the legal capacity of the respondent may be required.

We understand that this can be an incredibly difficult decision as to whether or not to proceed with guardianship. We’re here to listen, and to take some of that burden off your shoulders.

There are alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship.

Seeking the appointment of a guardian and conservator should always be a last resort as it involves taking away a loved one’s rights. Also, the legal process can be time-consuming, costly, and emotionally challenging.  Alternative resolutions to managing a loved one’s health care and finances should be explored.

Planning ahead with a durable general power of attorney and an advance medical directive can help to avoid a guardianship or conservatorship. Come talk to us about obtaining a preliminary assessment of your loved one’s legal capacity to determine if it is possible to execute documents which allow you to manage their affairs.


COVID-19 NOTICE:  In an abundance of caution, our firm is fully operational but we are limiting outside visitors to our office at this time. Attorneys and staff may be working remotely, but continue to be active on all current and new client matters. Please call or email the office as you normally would for assistance. We are also available for virtual meetings via zoom. Our primary goal is to continue to provide excellent services while also doing our best to ensure the health and safety of our staff and clients. We greatly appreciate your understanding and flexibility during this time.

Ms. Pendzich is a Virginia Supreme Court certified Guardian ad Litem for incapacitated adults.


She represents person(s) seeking appointment as a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated adult – for example, she has represented parents of an adult child with a mental or intellectual disability;  OR:  an adult child of a parent who has become incapacitated because of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and who failed to prepare a Power of attorney for financial affairs and a Directive for medical affairs.


She has also represented incapacitated adults  as a result of a  court appointment as a Guardian ad Litem for the incapacitated person.

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.