Imagine someone knocking on the door of an elderly person’s house and informing them they have been appointed a guardian by the court. Imagine the fear and confusion that older individuals may feel after hearing this news. While this may sound like something from a movie, this is legal in some cases. If you’re a Texas resident and need to know more about guardianship for your older loved ones, here is some information for you.
The legal perspective
While the scenario above happened to an older woman in Nevada, Texas has regulations that will protect against a situation like this.
In Texas, there are two categories of guardianship: a guardian for someone who needs someone to make decisions about where they will live or receive medical care or a guardian of an elderly person’s estate will manage the person’s property when or if they are unable to do so.
The guardianship process
While it is possible for an elderly individual to assign guardianship to a trusted friend or loved one in Texas, this process is not easy. A court hearing revealing medical evidence that the person needs a guardian must be conducted. The ward, or person in need of guardianship, must be served documentation and can hire a lawyer to represent them in court. The process of officially assigning a guardian to a person in the state of Texas can take up to six months.
Around 50,000 to 60,000 Texas residents who have assets between $5 and $6 billion are under guardianship. An estimated 75% of the people who are guardians for these individuals are relatives and the other 25% are court-appointed guardians who mostly work for nonprofit organizations.