Overview of Texas Guardianship
Guardianship in Texas is a process where the court appoints a legal representative to represent an incapacitated person who is unable to care for themselves, referred to as the ward, and act as the guardian of the person and/or the guardian of the person's estate. While a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate are often the same person, that is not always the case.
How does guardianship work?
Guardianship proceedings start by filing an application with the court for the appointment of a guardian. In order to be a guardian, a person must meet certain statutory guidelines under Texas law, typically including having a clean criminal history and clean financial record. A judge must hear the Application for Appointment of a Guardian, and issue an Order appointing the guardian.
Prior to holding the hearing, the court will routinely appoint a neutral court investigator to talk with the proposed ward, the guardianship applicant, the proposed ward's medical professional(s), family friends, caretakers, and any one else the court investigator feels is pertinent to the guardianship matter. The court will also appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the proposed ward and advocate for what the proposed ward wants.
After the court investigator meets with everyone, they will prepare a report for the court. The court report will include the court investigator's recommendations to the court on the appointment of a guardian. It will also include recommendations for any less restrictive options to guardianship because Texas does not take guardianship lightly as it restricts a persons right to make decisions about their care and their estate.
What are my first steps?
You first need to talk with a Texas attorney who practice guardianship law in your area. Texas requires attorneys who practice guardianship to obtain a special certification. The process to obtain guardianship can be complicated and should not be done without a guardianship lawyer. Contact ML|MW and schedule your free and confidential consultation to discuss the specific facts of your guardianship case and see if we can help you plan for your loved one's care.