In Texas, the courts can appoint a guardian to care for an incapacitated person, a minor, or an estate. This assignment of legal responsibility is called a guardianship. Specific procedures are in place to make sure a guardian is needed. Additional procedures can assign a qualified guardian to that person.
Undergoing these procedures without legal representation is highly discouraged, due to their complexity. Many courts will not review guardianship applications filed by people who are not lawyers.
If you are interested in establishing or wish to contest a guardianship, Rainey & Rainey can help. Our attorneys in Waco are experienced with guardianship proceedings. We can help you take the appropriate measures to seek a swift and favorable result.
Call our offices at (254) 826-8151 to speak to a guardianship attorney in Texas.
Guardian of the Person
To establish guardianship in Texas, you need to prove, through clear evidence, that the person in question is incapacitated. An incapacitated person is substantially unable to feed, dress, or shelter themselves. They must be provably unable to care for their physical health or manage finances.
Minors under the age of 18 are automatically considered incapacitated because they cannot care for and provide for themselves. Incapacity in an adult typically involves a physical or mental disability that renders one unable to care for oneself.
There is a high burden of proof for incapacity in Texas. Such a claim requires a doctor's evaluation and certificate, filed within 120 days of the guardianship application. Additionally, though a person may be incapacitated in one area, Texas courts will not always grant a full general guardianships. Courts strive to give a guardian the minimum powers needed to protected the incapacitated person.
If incapacity is proven, the court will appoint a guardian. The court will assign a guardian based off a priority list, typically based off the closest relatives. If more than one person of the same priority pursues guardianship, the court will appoint the person it deems more qualified.
Guardians have the power to make financial, legal, and health care decisions on behalf of their ward. In the state of Texas, guardians with full authority can establish a ward's residence. Guardians can also consent to most medical, surgical, and psychiatric treatment on behalf of the ward.
Guardians must also inform relatives who request notice if the ward:
- Is admitted to a care facility for three or more days
- Changes residence
- Otherwise is residing somewhere other than the main residence for a week or longer
Guardian of the Estate
Depending on the situation, two different guardians may be appointed, one for the ward and one for the ward’s estate. Alternatively, a single person can act as guardian for both the ward and the ward's estate.
A guardian of the estate is a fiduciary. This means they have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the estate. The guardian of the estate must post a bond with the court, as assurance that they will uphold their fiduciary duties.
Due to the complexity of guardianship, power of attorney, and other incapacity planning issues, it is important to involve an attorney. Our team can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a guardian.
Whether you need to establish a guardianship or contest a guardianship, we can help. Call Rainey & Rainey at (254) 826-8151 today to get started with a consultation.