How Does Guardianship Work in Texas?
The dedicated Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) recognize just how serious questions related to guardianship are. We are committed to helping you find the answers that work for you your loved one who may need guardianship.
What is Guardianship?
Texas Health and Human Services indicate that guardianship refers to a relationship established by the law between a person who needs help (ward) and a person or entity named as their guardian (the person or entity assigned to help the ward). Sometimes, due to their age, disease, injury, or anything else, a person is left in the difficult position of needing help with either all or part of the day-to-day affairs and activities. One way to obtain the help they need is through guardianship.
Common Reasons for Obtaining Guardianship
Consider some of the most common reasons for obtaining guardianship:
- Sometimes, an individual –due to a birth injury or illness or a permanent disability –requires a guardian throughout adulthood.
- Sometimes, an individual requires a guardian after experiencing a traumatic event, such as a brain injury.
- Sometimes, individuals encounter the need for a guardian as they age and/or experiences considerable health concerns that affect their ability to care for themselves.
Guardianship is an important legal tool that helps to ensure that individuals who are incapable of caring for themselves adequately can continue living their fullest lives –while ensuring that their best interests are addressed.
Seeking Guardianship in Texas
In the State of Texas, the process of appointing a guardian involves the following steps:
- Filing the appropriate application with the appropriate court
- Having a guardianship hearing before a judge
- If the judge deems it necessary, appointing a guardian
Guardianship strips the ward of considerable rights, which is why it is only implemented when every other viable option has been exhausted, including:
- Finding someone who can help the person in need pay their bills, manage their general finances, and/or help them attend to the matters of daily living generally
- Finding someone who can help the person in need make important life decisions, including decisions related to health care
- Helping the person in need obtain assistance through community services, such as Medicaid programs and beyond
If you have concerns related to the question –How does guardianship work in Texas? –the dedicated estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC can help.
Important Points to Consider
Appointing someone with a guardian is a serious legal move that is usually permanent (unless a significant change moves the judge to lift the requirement). As such, guardianship is typically the last choice (if additional options are available), and in specific situations, there are, sometimes, better choices.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows benefits to flow through a recipient’s representative payee (regardless of whether or not they have a guardian).
Recipients of public benefits, such as Medicaid and/or food stamps, can receive them through authorized representatives and do not require guardians.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) can act on behalf of (and can make important decisions for) an incapacitated person, but the POA designation must be created before its need, which is why it is called an advance care directive.
In emergencies, like when someone is in the hospital and unable to communicate their wishes regarding their treatment, a family member can step in on their behalf.
The Basic Types of Guardianship
There are four basic types of guardianship, and they include:
- Full or limited guardianship of a person–Some wards only need assistance in specific areas, while others require more considerable oversight.
- Full or limited guardianship of a person’s estate–Guardianships can also address a person’s estate and how it is handled.
- Guardianship of a person and their estate–This is a more comprehensive form of guardianship that addresses both the ward’s person and their estate.
- Temporary (or emergency) guardianship –Temporary guardianship is sometimes awarded in extraordinary circumstances that amount to emergencies in which guardianship becomes an issue.
Who Is Appointed Guardian?
For adults in need of guardianship, guardians are appointed by the court in the following order (as applicable):
- The person who is designated to take over guardianship (in the event necessary) in the ward’s advance directive
- The ward’s spouse
- A non-relative of the ward that the court deems appropriate to satisfy the role of guardian
Seek the Professional Legal Guidance of an Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney
Matters related to guardianship are very serious, and if you have concerns about how guardianship works in Texas, seeking professional legal counsel is well advised. Less intrusive options should always be considered before guardianship is pursued, but when necessary, guardianship is an important legal tool that can help you address your loved one’s needs. The experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC understand your concerns and are committed to helping you find the best path forward for you –given your unique circumstances. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.