Virginia Guardianship Needs: When is it Appropriate?
When we think of having legal control over another individual, we often think of child custody laws. We often discuss custody matters in our blog, but there is also another very important way a person can affect the legal situation of someone else. That legal tool is called guardianship. A guardianship relationship can be inherent based upon who may have custody of a child, but a guardian may also be appointed by the court.
A guardian is defined as an individual tasked with caring for the legal, emotional and health care needs of someone else, and there exist specific classifications of guardians depending on the needs of the individual who is unable to fully care for themselves.
Virginia Guardianship over Minors
In the case of minor children (those under 18 years of age), a guardian may be appointed by a court over a minor’s person, their estate or their interests named in another’s will. The guardian is legally in charge of the minor’s affairs.
In the case of a guardianship over a minor’s person the guardian will be in charge of the child or teen’s emotional wellbeing and health. To contrast, a guardian of the child’s estate will really only be in charge of financial matters relating to the minor’s assets. A testamentary guardian may often overlap with the emotional wellbeing and the financial well being of the minor.
Which kind of guardian you are will affect your duties and obligations to the minor until they reach the age of 18 and are able to make decisions affecting their welfare on their own.
Virginia Guardianship over Adults
Although we might often think of guardianship issues as those involving minor children, they often are relevant to the interests of adults as well. A few examples are include when an older person’s facilities begin to give out on them, or when an individual is so severely injured in an accident they can no longer make decisions for themselves. In these situations, another adult will need to help the individual with legal and health decisions.
To be appointed the guardian of an adult, you must petition the court located in the county where the incapacitated adult resides and assert in the petition the need for guardianship. Subsequently, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether or not the adult is incapacitated and depending on their findings, may appoint you as their guardian.
If appointed a person’s guardian, you must take the time to check in on them and confirm that their needs are being met and additionally file documents with the state to account for the status of the incapacitated individual.
Guardianship over an incapacitated adult can last until the person passes away, or until their situation changes. It is often a case by case basis.
Call Our Skilled Leesburg Family Law Attorneys
The Virginia family law attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC understand that guardianship cases are not always easy. In the case of adult guardianship, an incapacitated person may contest the matter. In the case of minor guardianship, the situation oftentimes means a child has lost their parents or their parents are unable to properly care for them. We are dedicated to providing an understanding environment for all parties involved while helping you with your serious family law matters.