Injury, illness, age and various other factors may leave people unable to speak or to make decisions for themselves. When loved ones cannot care for themselves because of physical or mental incapacities, family members may consider asking the court to appoint guardians for their loved ones.
Before petitioning the court or agreeing to serve as a guardian for an adult family member, people may benefit from thinking about the duties and responsibilities of the role to determine if they can take it on.
Making medical and health care-related decisions
According to the Virginia judicial system, those with adult guardianship for a family member have a responsibility to make decisions about the person’s medical, health and personal care. For instance, guardians may agree to or decline certain medical treatments, decide at which facilities or from which doctors the person may receive treatment, and where the person will live.
Taking away basic rights
In addition to making decisions regarding the person’s personal affairs, guardians also have the right to take certain rights away from those under their care. Guardians may allow or prohibit them from getting married, signing legal documents and even voting.
Arranging the disposition of remains and funeral services
According to the Virginia judicial system, the duties of a guardian also include coordinating the disposition of the person’s remains and any funeral services after his or her death. For example, this may include arranging for cremation, interment, inurnment, entombment and the scattering of ashes.
Appointment as a guardian carries responsibilities and requirements beyond just making decisions. Before taking on this role, people may consider their ability to fulfill the position, as well as other possible options for making decisions on behalf of an incapacitated family member.