What Happens If My Adult Disabled Child’s Guardian Quits?

As a Virginia guardianship lawyer, I can tell you that being a guardian of an incapacitated adult is a lot of work. It is the guardian’s job to make sure that the needs of an individual with disabilities are met. These responsibilities can include everything from making sure the individual has a safe place to live, to making sure they have access to proper medical care.  It can also include overseeing issues pertaining to quality of life, such as enrolling the individual in fun or stimulating activities or providing access to entertainment.

Given the amount of work required, it is not surprising that sometimes a guardian will express a desire to resign.   But, can they just quit? Can a new guardian just take over? Does the court need to approve the new guardian?

The answer is that a guardian can not simply walk away from his or her duties and arbitrarily hand over the reins to someone else.  If a guardian is no longer able or willing to serve, a petition must be filed with the court in order to terminate the current guardian’s duties and appoint a different (successor) guardian. This process takes time and money and becomes burdensome for all parties involved.

That is why I often recommend that a successor guardian be named from the start in case the first appointed guardian is unable or unwilling to serve.  This can be done in the initial guardianship filing. A successor guardian usually has the same duties and powers of the previous guardian. Having someone ready to immediately take over can greatly reduce the stress on everyone if a situation arises where the first appointed guardian can’t, or won’t continue in their role.

Naming a successor guardian is just one of many important considerations when going through the process of guardianship for your adult child.   If you are in the process of seeking guardianship , please seek the help of an experienced Virginia guardianship lawyer.  We invite you to contact the Law Offices of Sheri R. Abrams at (571) 328-5795 to set up an appointment where we’ll help you plan for the  situations that your adult disabled child may face in the future.

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