Guardianship is a complex topic that can cause disputes between friends and family over the best course of action to help a loved one. When petitioning the Court for guardianship for an adult incapacitated person, the guardianship process can be complicated to navigate alone.
An experienced guardianship lawyer in Central Virginia at Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel can help you build your case for your petition for guardianship for an incapacitated adult or a special needs child who is about to turn 18 years old. Call us today at 434-589-2958, or in or near Powhatan at 804-598-1348 or reach out online at www.winget-hernandez.com to schedule a consultation.
What Is a Guardian?
If you have not already named a power of attorney or healthcare power of attorney in your estate planning documents, the court will appoint a guardian to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Any person over 18 years of age in good legal standing can file a petition to become a guardian. If you wish to petition the court to become a guardian for a family member, you should work closely with a qualified guardianship lawyer in Central Virginia from our office. Our guardianship attorneys have years of experience helping families when they need a guardian or conservator.
While a guardian makes healthcare, living, and daily decisions for an incapacitated person, a conservator manages their financial affairs, including using the individual’s assets to pay for continued medical care. Sometimes the court will appoint the same person to be both guardian and conservator, but sometimes it will divide the responsibility.
What Is the Guardianship Process for Appointment in Virginia?
To petition the court to become a guardian, you (the petitioner) must file a guardianship petition with the Virginia Circuit Court. The petition must include documentation that the person who needs a guardian (the respondent) is incapacitated or incompetent. The respondent and three of their immediate relatives will also receive copies of the petition.
A Guardian ad litem will be appointed by the court. This is an attorney who will investigate and report to the court about whether there is evidence that the respondent indeed requires guardianship and if so, will make recommendations about the appropriate person(s) to serve as guardian and the appropriate care needed for the respondent. The petition must be supported by a medical evaluation showing that a doctor has found that the respondent is in need of the protection of a guardian because they are unable to make decisions for themselves.
The court will then consider whether the respondent requires guardianship or conservatorship based on the evidence. To qualify for guardianship, the respondent must show:
- An inability to perform general tasks, including eating, dressing, washing themselves, and keeping their home livable
- An inability to appreciate their limitations and health challenges such that they are unable to make good healthcare/life decisions to keep themselves safe
- A risk of harm to themselves or others
- An inability to manage their own finances and assets
Contact a Guardianship Attorney in Central Virginia
At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, we support you throughout your guardianship case and treat you with respect and compassion. If you expect that your loved one or others may oppose your efforts to seek guardianship, we also handle contested guardianships and guardianship litigation. To schedule a consultation with a guardianship lawyer in Central Virginia, call us today at 434-589-2958 or in or near Powhtan at 804-598-1348 or contact us online at www.winget-hernandez.com.