Northern Virginia Guardianship
If your loved one doesn’t have an estate plan in place, you might have to step in if they become incapacitated. Without documents such as a power of attorney, you’ll have to ask the court to name a guardian. Then you or another person can make decisions for your loved one.
Hiring a North Virginia guardianship lawyer from PJI Law should be the first step you take. Our legal team will review the evidence to determine if your loved one is legally incapacitated. If so, we will petition the court and represent you at the hearing. We understand how challenging these cases can be, both legally and emotionally, and will be by your side every step of the way.
If you become a legal guardian, you will be responsible for making decisions and handling tasks for your loved one. Your duties will include:
At the same time, you want your loved one to have as much personal freedom as possible.
How to Become a Guardian in Virginia
You will begin the process by filing a petition for guardianship. A Guardian Ad Litem will also evaluate the information provided in the petition. The judge will receive the evidence, along with the Guardian Ad Litem’s findings. Then you will attend a hearing. Keep in mind that your loved one can also attend the hearing and might have legal representation. Thus, you should bring a Northern Virginia guardianship lawyer to the hearing with you.
The judge will go over the evidence during the hearing, determine if the person is incapacitated, and decide if you should become the legal guardian. If you’re appointed as the legal guardian, you will have to qualify through the Probate Department of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. You must do this within 30 days of the judge issuing the Court Order of Appointment.
Judges are very cautious when determining if someone is legally incapacitated. They do not want to take someone’s freedoms away unless necessary.
The judge will determine an individual is incapacitated because of failure to receive, understand, and respond to information. A person can also be deemed legally incapacitated due to inability to meet health, safety, and care needs without help. However, it’s essential to understand that poor decision-making does not always equal incapacitation. If the individual can adequately process information, the court is unlikely to rule the person is incapacitated, regardless of the quality of the decisions. If you are unsure if your loved one is incapacitated, speak to a Northern Virginia guardianship lawyer for guidance.
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If you get an appointment as a guardian, you will need to meet the bonding requirements. The court will set the amount of the bond, and you will need to obtain it before you can take over as a guardian. Your Northern Virginia guardianship attorney can help you obtain the bond and meet the other legal requirements so you can begin the guardianship.
Who Receives the Petition for Guardianship?
When you file a petition for guardianship, the incapacitated individual will receive a copy. Also, if the individual has immediate relatives, they will receive copies as well. This includes children, adult siblings, and the spouse. Many people choose to discuss the need for guardianship with these family members before filing the petition, so everyone is on the same page. This can help the process go more smoothly. Discuss the best course of action with your Northern Virginia guardianship lawyer, so this can be as stress-free as possible.
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