Friday, September 23, 2011

Texas Guardianships: What are They?

Guardianship Basics
At times, a person may not be able to care for his or her own personal or financial needs. Texas law provides a remedy, guardianship, so that a person's affairs may be supervised by the court.

This is a legal action of last resort, which may be necessary for various reasons. It may be used when estate planning fails, when there is no estate planning documents at all, or it may be appropriate when others will not accept the power of legal documents.

A guardian is appointed by the court and legally stands in the shoes of the person under disability, the Ward.

After appointment, the guardian has the same rights and responsibilities as the ward. The guardian is not personally responsible but only serves as the Ward's agent.

Limited or General?
A guardianship may be general or limited, depending upon the severity of the disability. The court may only award the necessary powers to the guardian. No more, no less.

Person or Estate?
A guardianship may be of the person. This means that the guardian manages the Ward's personal affairs, such as medical or placement decisions. A guardianship may be of the estate, which means that the guardian manages the Ward's financial affairs. Many times, a guardianship is for person and estate, simultaneously.

Temporary or Permanent Guardianship?
A temporary guardianship may be sought when there is a threat of immediate harm to the Ward or the Ward's estate. A temporary guardianship is a response to an emergency. The temporary guardian will only be granted the necessary protective powers. Temporary guardianships must be reviewed later.

A permanent guardianship is granted to protect a Ward or his/her estate on a more lasting basis. A permanent guardianship is based on a doctor's medical evaluation of the Ward. There is a full hearing before a judge. If the judge orders a permanent guardianship, it is intended to last for the life of the ward, if statutory mandates are fulfilled by the guardian.


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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