Nomination of Guardian
Two main groups of people need a guardian in Virginia: minors under 18 and incapacitated adults who cannot manage their everyday affairs. A guardian has the legal authority to make decisions for the ward (minor or incapacitated person) and a duty to act in the ward’s best interests.
If you need reliable legal help with nomination of guardian, call Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel at 434-589-2958 or in or near Powhatan at (804) 598-1348. Our trusted legal team will guide you through the guardianship process in Central Virginia.
Who Needs a Guardian in Virginia?
A Virginia circuit court may appoint a guardian for:
- Children under 18. Minors may need a legal guardian if their natural parents pass away or cannot care for them because of long-term illness, incarceration, or other circumstances.
- Incapacitated adults. Adult guardianship typically applies to persons with special needs or seniors who suffer from degenerative conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
All petitions for guardianship in Virginia go through a local circuit court. The court will decide whether the person in question needs a guardian or conservator and who should serve in that capacity. Then the circuit court will then appoint and qualify a guardian to serve..
We can help you gather and file all the necessary legal documents related to nomination of guardian for a special needs child about to turn 18 years old and for incapacitated adults.
The Duties of a Guardian
A guardian’s duties in Virginia depend on the guardianship arrangement. Under full guardianship, the guardian handles all aspects of the incapacitated person’s everyday life, from healthcare to decisions about housing. Limited guardianship typically restricts the guardian’s authority to specific areas and gives the protected person more autonomy.
However, under any circumstances, a guardian should:
- Protect the ward’s interests
- Encourage the ward to stay involved in important decisions as much as possible
- File annual reports that specify the ward’s medical condition, housing arrangements, and recommendations for future care
Alternatives to Guardianship
While every minor under 18 needs a legal guardian, seniors and incapacitated adults may bypass nomination of guardian if they create a durable power of attorney (POA) while they still have the mental capacity to do so.. A durable POA allows the principal to name a representative who will assume responsibility for their healthcare, finances, and other essential matters.
However, you cannot sign a durable general power of attorney or advance healthcare directive if you do not have the legal capacity to do so.. This means that seniors and people suffering from progressive diseases like dementia should create powers of attorney well before they may need someone to take over their affairs.
Likewise, parents of minor children should appoint a legal guardian in their Will in case they pass before their children are 18. Naming guardians for minor children in your Will minimizes conflict and confusion among family members about who you would choose to raise your children if you pass away before they turn 18 years old.
Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel: Helping Families Apply for Guardianship and Conservatorship in Central Virginia and Powhatan
If you need to apply for guardianship to protect a special needs child or incapacitated family member, Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel can guide you through the guardianship process quickly and efficiently. We also help families forestall the need for adult guardianship by using legal options like durable powers of attorney and advance medical directives.