Understanding Guardianship in Texas
In Texas, guardianship is often confused with the conservatorship of a minor child. Guardianship is for a person over 18-years of age when needs to have another person assisting with decision-making. This can often be a disabled adult child or an aging parent. It is important to understand the legal process to become a guardian of another individual.
Guardianship, Adult Children or Parents
Because a guardianship effectively restricts the civil rights of the ward, these legal arrangements are strictly administered by the court system. Guardianship in Texas is a complex process and an expensive one. Legal advice may be critical to successfully petitioning for a guardianship.
In Texas, a guardian is someone who assumes total or partial control over someone else's person or estate. The subject of the guardianship is called a ward. A ward may be either a child over the age of 18 or a person who is in some way mentally or physically incapacitated. Essentially, anyone whom the court deems unable to adequately provide food, shelter, and clothing for themselves may become a ward.
Becoming Appointed as a Guardian
Typically, a person who wishes to become a guardian files an application with the court to be appointed guardian. The application is nearly always filed in the county in which the prospective ward currently resides. After a process that may involve medical or psychological evaluations of the proposed ward, interviews with all interested parties and numerous court hearings, the guardianship will either be approved or denied. If it is denied, then the ward is free to continue to make their own decisions regarding their personal and financial matters.
When guardianship in Texas is approved, then the guardian is legally obligated to begin providing care for the ward. Two different kinds of guardianship are possible in Texas. One is guardianship of the person; the other is guardianship of the estate. Occasionally, a single person will be the guardian of the person and the estate simultaneously.
As the guardian of the person, the appointee is responsible for providing adequate medical care, food, shelter and clothing. This may encompass a broad variety of tasks or the guardianship may relate to only certain portions of the ward's life. Someone who is appointed as the guardian of the estate takes control of the ward's financial resources. This may include receiving payments from government entities and writing checks to pay the ward's monthly bills. A strict accounting of all income and payments must be reported on an annual basis to the court.
Need Assistance with Guardianship in Texas?
The Texas Lawyer Referral Service can provide assistance with guardianships and wills, contact them directly at (713) 510-7100. American Family Law Center will be able to provide people with all the help they need with conservatorships.
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