Appoint Legal Guardian Guide

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Appoint Legal Guardian Guide

When a loved one becomes incapable of making sound decisions for themselves due to age, illness, or disability, appointing a legal guardian may be necessary to protect their well-being and interests. In Texas, the process of establishing guardianship involves navigating a complex legal system, which can be overwhelming for families already facing difficult circumstances.

This guide aims to provide a clear overview of the steps involved in appointing legal guardianship in Texas, including the types of guardianship available, the requirements for becoming a guardian, and the court procedures that must be followed. By understanding the key aspects of the guardianship process, families can make informed decisions and ensure that their loved ones receive the care and support they need.

What is a Legal Guardian in Texas?

A legal guardian in Texas has the legal authority to make decisions on someone else’s behalf. The types of decisions a guardian can make for another person (known as a “ward”) typically have to do with their finances, health, safety, etc.

Someone may be another individual’s legal guardian in Texas because of their age. However, this isn’t the only potential reason for guardianship in Texas.

An adult may need a legal guardian if they cannot care for themselves. As the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHS) explains, appointing a guardian for an adult deprives said adult of their civil rights, at least to a degree. Thus, appointing a guardian for an adult should be a last measure when others have been exhausted.

For example, before making someone an adult’s legal guardian, it might be preferable to hire a helper to assist an adult with such tasks as paying bills or making health care decisions. If you’re a close family member, you may be able to assist with these tasks without having to hire outside help.

How to Appoint a Legal Guardian in Texas

Appointing a legal guardian in Texas begins with submitting an application to the relevant court. Typically, the probate court of the county with jurisdiction is the court in which someone might initiate this process. However, smaller counties don’t always have probate courts in Texas. The County Court or the County Court at law will serve in place of the probate court when this is the case.

You may need to provide substantial information when submitting an application to appoint a legal guardian. The information you need to provide can depend on such factors as the age of the potential ward.

If they are an adult, you may need to provide information explaining whether other methods of serving their needs have been explored. If the ward is a child, along with providing an explanation as to why you believe they need a guardian, you may have to provide information about any relevant legal conservatorship proceedings from the last two years.

A hearing will follow after you submit an application. The hearing gives a court the chance to learn more about the ward’s needs. During a hearing, the court can also learn about the qualifications of the proposed guardian.

The court may appoint a guardian after a hearing if it finds the proposed ward needs a guardian and a potential guardian is qualified to fill the role. In addition, courts in Texas can sometimes initiate proceedings to appoint guardians themselves. A court may do so when there is reason to believe an individual needs a guardian.

How Long Does Legal Guardianship Last in Texas?

Appoint Legal Guardian GuideGuardianship is often permanent in Texas. That said, a court may decide a guardian is no longer necessary if circumstances change substantially. For example, maybe a minor has a legal guardian. They may no longer need a guardian once they reach adult age.

What Rights Do Legal Guardians Have in Texas?

Matters over which a guardian typically has control in Texas may include a ward’s:

  • Finances
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Medical care
  • Property

Be aware that two types of guardianship exist. Someone who is the guardian of a person has control over matters like their medical care. They need to be the guardian of an individual’s estate to also have control over their finances and property.

The court may also account for a ward’s preferences when selecting a guardian. The court may do so if the ward is an incapacitated adult or a minor 12 years of age or older.

Can a Guardian Sign Legal Documents in Texas?

A guardian can make various legal decisions on a ward’s behalf. Thus, they have a right to sign legal documents when doing so is necessary to make such decisions. However, they cannot forge a ward’s signature.

How Old is a Legal Guardian in Texas?

A guardian must be a legal adult. Other factors, like their finances, may also influence whether someone meets the qualifications to serve as a guardian.

Contact a Texas Guardianship Attorney

Appointing a guardian can be a complex process in Texas. It also might not be necessary if you can provide for someone’s needs without establishing a guardianship.

At Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., a Texas guardianship lawyer can help you navigate this process more confidently. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or reaching out to us at (210) 349-9933 today.

Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. 12000 Huebner Rd #200 San Antonio, TX 78230 Telephone: (210) 349-9933 Fax: (210) 349-9988
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