Generally, the need to seek guardianship comes up when the loved one, whether it is a sibling, parent, or child, cannot or no longer handle any of their affairs. Somethings guardianship is needed for the person from a young age. More commonly today, children are seeking guardianship of their parent or parents when they are entering advance years.
The person who becomes the “ward” of the “guardian” relinquishes all their rights over decisions for themselves, both personal and financial. Is is possible to have apply to be a guardian of the ward’s personal decisions and to also have the court appoint a “conservator” who will be responsible for overseeing financial decisions.
In Virginia to gain guardianship you must petition the court and is generally a measure of last resort for two reasons. The first reason is that the need for guardianship can be averted is a financial plan, which includes a power of attorney executed by the individual while the individual is of sound mind, eliminates the need for guardianship. If the individual later loses some cognitive ability it does not invalidate the power of attorney.
More to the point, the need for guardianship arises only when the person is considered not to have the capacity to execute a power of attorney. So make sure you get a solid estate plan in place when your loved one is mentally able.
Guardianship generally breaks down into two categories: guardianship of a minor and guardianship of an elderly or incapacitated person.