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Does your loved one need a guardian?

If your West Virginia loved one is unable to care for himself or herself, you may have serious concerns about the well-being and safety of that individual in the future. However, there are legal options available to you as a concerned family member. You may be able to secure guardianship in order to ensure that the person has the care and support that he or she needs.

A guardian is someone who acts on behalf of someone else, perhaps because that person is dealing with incapacitation for some reason or has a condition that could impair decision-making. If you have questions about whether or not this could be the right decision for you or if you would like to know how you can further protect the interests of your loved one, you may find it beneficial to learn more about guardianship.

What does a guardian do?

Your job as the guardian would be to act in the best interests of the other person, which means that you would have to make certain important decisions regarding the following matters:

  • Making arrangements for the purchase of food, clothing and other necessary items
  • Making decisions regarding medical care and certain treatment options
  • Arranging for education needs
  • Managing money, making financial decisions and handling accounts

These are huge responsibilities, and acting as a guardian is not something that you should take lightly. However, you may find that it is the best way to ensure that your loved one gets what he or she needs without suffering from financial harm or other consequences. Before you take this step, you would be wise to fully consider all of the implications that come with this decision.

Preferably, the person acting as a guardian would be a family member or someone closely connected with that individual. However, when there is no person available or family cannot or does not want the responsibility, the court can appoint someone to act as an incapacitated individual's guardian.

Protecting your loved one

A guardian can be a spouse, family member, close friend, state employee or other person closely familiar with the ward's case. Offering to act as guardian is an important step, but you have the right to know all of your options and responsibilities before you agree.

Whether you are exploring this possibility for the future or you know you need to act immediately on behalf of a loved one, a smart first step can be to simply seek a complete evaluation of your situation.

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