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With the publication of this article in the New Yorker in 2017 and the release of the Edith + Eddie documentary a few months later, court-appointed guardianships have recently come under increasing public scrutiny. Of particular concern to many is a guardian’s ability to abuse his or her legal authority by unreasonably restricting access between an incapacitated person and others. Now the Virginia General Assembly is in session and considering a bill that proposes to prevent a guardian from restricting visitation rights between the incapacitated person and family members with whom he or she has an established relationship. If it passes, a guardian will have to get a court order before he or she can restrict visitation and communications between the incapacitated person and others, and a guardian who restricts visitation without an order could potentially be penalized. Whether this proposal is good policy for the Commonwealth we’ll leave to our readers to decide.
Regardless of whether the law changes, legal counsel is essential when considering guardianship for a family-member or loved one. A court-appointed guardian is a legal remedy of last resort, and a good Elder Law attorney can often help you find alternative solutions. Despite the recent negative portrayals of the guardianship system in the media, we would encourage you to talk to someone who knows the system before making any major decisions.
About The Senex
Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates’ weekly update on aging, wisdom
, and the law | Edited by Jeremy L. Pryor, Chair of the firm’s Elder Law Section
Jeremy L. Pryor, Esquire | Carrell Blanton Ferris & Associates, PLC | email@example.com