Estate Planning For Peace Of Mind

Determining when guardianship is right

On Behalf of | May 7, 2020 | Firm News |

Due to the current state of world affairs, the health and wellbeing of elderly family members is a growing concern. Many families today may consider establishing guardianship if they have growing concerns over an elderly family member’s ability to care for themselves.

This complex process is not easy for Texas residents, and that is by design. Guardianship strips an individual of many legal rights, placing their care in the hands of another. These guidelines may help families determine if guardianship is best for them.

Establishing guardianship in Texas

Many states have lengthy processes for establishing guardianship, and Texas is no exception. Texas law allows establishing a guardian over an individual deemed “incapacitated.” Incapacitated persons include minors or any adult who cannot provide or care for themselves due to a physical or mental condition. After establishing this, an individual may apply for guardianship through a multi-step process:

  1. Testing by licensed practitioner: Before applying, a Texas-licensed physician or psychologist must attest to the ward’s mental and physical acuity. These tests must occur at most four months before submitting an application.
  2. Application: Potential guardians must then submit an Application for Appointment of Permanent Guardian to the county court of the ward’s residence.
  3. Court-appointed personnel: A court-appointed investigator will meet with the ward, family members, social workers, doctors, the attorney of record, and anyone else with a bearing on the ruling. The court will also assign the ward an attorney to advocate on their behalf.
  4. Court hearing: A hearing will determine if a ward needs guardianship based on “clear and convincing evidence” that the ward is an incapacitated person, a guardian is in their best interest and the proposed guardian would protect the rights of the ward. A court must also find that the guardian is eligible to serve.

Contact an attorney for a consultation

Those with questions about adult guardianship may find answers from a Texas attorney familiar with family law. The guardianship process is long and complicated, so having legal assistance can help families focus on what is best for their loved ones.