Friday, September 23, 2011

Texas Guardianships: The Cast of Characters

If someone files documents with the court asking to be made guardian, that person is the Applicant. The Applicant will be represented by an attorney during the legal proceedings at the courthouse.

After an application for guardianship is filed, the judge must appoint an attorney for the proposed Ward. This attorney is called an Attorney Ad Litem. The Attorney Ad Litem represents the wishes of the proposed Ward during the guardianship proceedings. The Attorney Ad Litem and the proposed Ward work together.

If the guardianship is uncontested, a hearing will be set, the court will hear the evidence, and the judge will appoint a qualified guardian.

If the guardianship is contested, the proceeding becomes more complex and time consuming. In contested situations, the question may not be whether the proposed Ward needs a guardian but who may serve? There may be more than one person applying. If so, each applicant has an attorney.

In these situations, the judge may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to sort through the information and make a recommendation to the court. The job of the Guardian Ad Litem is to be a neutral fact-finder, investigating the situation and determining what would be in the proposed Ward's best interest. At court, the judge will listen to all sides. The judge will consider the Guardian Ad Litem's recommendation, weigh the preferences of the proposed Ward, and review the doctor's medical report before deciding whether a guardianship is appropriate. If so, the judge will appoint a guardian for the Ward.


About Lisa C Smith

Attorney Lisa C. Smith believes that many legal problems can be resolved by working out agreements, legal documents, and creative solutions for businesses and families. Her goal is to provide quality legal representation with personal service and respect.

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