Guardianship in Texas is a legal relationship where a guardian is appointed by a court to make decisions on behalf of another person. This is usually because the person is incapacitated because of a physical or mental condition.
Types of Guardianships
There are different types of guardianships available in Texas.
Guardian of the Person
A full guardian of the person (ward) can take care of the person’s needs and make decisions about housing, contact with family and friends, medical treatment, educational decisions, and personal rights, such as driving a car, or having a cell phone.
A limited guardian of the ward does not make all the decisions of the person. The judge will decide what rights the ward will have.
Guardian of the Estate
A guardian of the estate is a person who has been appointed by the court to take care of the ward’s assets and finances. But the guardian is not personally responsible for the ward’s debts.
The same guardian can be for both the person and the estate.
How Do I Become a Guardian?
The probate court will appoint a guardian, so you must hire an attorney. This is because there are many steps involved in applying for guardianship. A probate lawyer or a lawyer who is experienced with guardianship will be the best ones to guide you through the process. There are also private professional guardians that are certified by the Texas Guardianship Certification Board.
Changing or Ending Guardianships
A guardianship may be changed or ended in one of three ways:
In some cases, guardianships can be modified as a result of changes occurring to the ward. There may be improvement or deterioration in the mental or physical aspects of the ward requiring a modification. The ward or another interested person may file an application with the court asking for a modification. The ward can also send an informal letter to the court instead of filing an application. The court will look at the evidence that circumstances have changed since it was established.
Sometimes a guardianship is no longer required if positive changes occur to the ward. The ward or another interested person may file an application with the court asking for the ward’s rights to be restored. The court will then decide for restoration based on the preponderance of evidence rather than the higher level of “proof” that was required for the initial guardianship.
A guardian’s authority ends when the person they represent dies or regains their mental or physical capacity to take care of themselves. Guardians may also be terminated by court order in cases where guardians are not fulfilling their obligations or where the ward has passed away.
This article is not a definitive guide for guardianship. Always consult with an attorney, such as Mark Winton, to further understand the laws pertaining to guardianship.
Winton Law El Paso P.C.
1533 N. Lee Trevino Suite 201
El Paso, TX 79936
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM by appointment only
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal services should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and how they may affect your case.