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Only The Court Can Grant A Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal, court-ordered relationship in which one individual becomes the substitute decision maker for another. It can be created only by a court of law. The court determines the incapacity of the person involved and appoints a substitute decision maker to meet the needs and protect the rights of the incapacitated person. The term incapacitated has a legal definition under Virginia law. It has been defined by statute to mean a person (usually an adult) who has been found by a court to be incapable of receiving and evaluating information. In addition, the person must be found to lack the capacity to maintain his or her health and safety and/or to manage his or her property and financial affairs without the assistance of a guardian or conservator.

A guardian’s authority can be broad or limited to making specific decisions. Usually, a guardian will make personal and health care decisions, but may be responsible for other personal decisions that most people take for granted, such as whether the person may have visitors or will attend a social gathering. Guardians’ authority to make decisions may be limited depending on the ability of the incapacitated adult to care for some of their own personal, health and safety needs. The extent of the guardian’s or conservator’s authority will be set forth in the judge’s order and in the Virginia Code. The Dickerson & Smith Law Group estate planning attorneys are skilled and experienced in petitioning the court for guardian appointments and assisting clients as they navigate through this process. Call 757-828-0031 today or contact us online for an appointment.