Caring for your elderly parent in Virginia is often difficult. As they age, their faculties often lessen to an extent where they can no longer take care of themselves adequately. When this occurs, you can consider guardianship to protect your parent’s best interests.
The guardianship process
Acquiring guardianship for your elderly parent can be long and involved, but it is still possible to do so even if your mother or father opposes the process. You, a spouse, another relative, or a state or local government agency may petition for guardianship. Even your elderly parent can petition for guardianship if they want to ensure that they are taken care of properly when they can no longer do so.
To obtain guardianship, you must file a Petition for Appointment of Conservator form that details information about the elderly person, yourself, the elderly person’s relatives and why the guardianship is necessary. As the petitioner, you must also explain why alternatives are not appropriate. Your parent, along with other relatives, must receive notice of the filing. A court investigator will then determine whether the petition is valid before a judge reviews it in court and decides whether to grant the guardianship.
Obtaining guardianship for an elderly parent is often an emotional time as it involves the relinquishing of personal rights. Before doing so, you should explore alternatives such as the power of attorney and living trusts to find the best fit for you and your parent. Other alternatives are representative payeeship, which involves you managing government benefits that your parent receives, or standby guardianship.
If guardianship is necessary, you have a duty of care that goes beyond the normal child-parent relationship. You’ll be responsible for deciding things like where your parent will live, their health, their household budget, socialization and recreation, and similar aspects of daily life. Ensure that you are emotionally and physically able to take on guardianship of an elderly parent before doing so.