Virginia Special Needs Planning Lawyer: Guardianship and the Autistic Adult

As a Virginia special needs planning lawyer, I know that everyone who falls on the Autism spectrum is unique. Some will grow to be adults who can generally function in the world, make decisions on their own behalf, and effectively communicate them. Others cannot. However, all adults who reach the age of majority become independent in the eyes of the law and are presumed able to make their own decisions. Yet, some autistic adults may never be able to make some or all of the important decisions an adult has to make. Therefore, parents of autistic adults may choose to initiate guardianship over their child.

Why not create a power of attorney instead?

In the case of power of attorney, one adult grants power over his or her affairs to another adult. The adult granting power of attorney can revoke it when that adult is competent to do so. This person must be competent when granting the power and understand the consequences of turning over power to another adult. An individual with special needs may or may not have the legal competency to sign these documents or give their rights over to another person. When this is not possible, signing a Power of Attorney is no longer an option and the courts must get involved instead.

Should I petition the court for guardianship over my child?

 You may already be making decisions on your child’s behalf as an extension of what you were doing when your child was a minor. However, having guardianship can safeguard your child from exploitation and from other troubles.  It also ensures that you have full legal permission to continue acting on your child’s behalf now that he or she is an adult.

Talk to a Virginia special needs planning lawyer to find out if becoming guardian is best for you and your child.  If so, we can help you through the process of gaining guardianship over your adult child.   Simply call the Law Office at Sheri R. Abrams at (571) 328-5795 to schedule an appointment.