If someone in Virginia is disabled or incapacitated, he or she may be considered a ward and given a guardian. In the event that a person already provided another individual with a durable power of attorney, that individual will act in accordance with the document’s terms. However, if no guardian was named ahead of time, a judge will need to appoint someone to that role. A guardian will make sure that bills are paid or that investments are managed.

Guardians will also likely need to make medical decisions on the part of an incapacitated individual. This may be true whether the disability is mental or physical in nature. Essentially, the guardian is there to make sure that a person who cannot live independently is properly taken care of. To help ensure that this happens, the ward may have significant input into the role a guardian plays in his or her life.

A guardian is typically required to provide updates to the court on a regular basis. These updates should be thorough enough to determine whether it is necessary for an individual to be a ward of the state. To qualify as a guardian, a person needs to be at least 18 and be of sound mind. This person must also have a record free of convictions for crimes such as forgery or bribery.

Part of the estate planning process is to include a plan for if a person becomes incapacitated either temporarily or on a permanent basis. A Forest, Virginia, attorney handling guardianships may be able to help draft power of attorney documents or explain why they may be worth having. Generally speaking, a power of attorney allows a person to choose his or her own guardian who may understand how to act in that person’s interest.