Waco guardianship lawyers

A guardianship is a legal arrangement where one person, known as the guardian, is appointed by a court to make decisions for another person, known as the ward, who is unable to make decisions by themselves due to a physical or mental condition.

Obtaining and administering a guardianship over another person in the State of Texas involves a legal process that requires careful consideration and attention to detail.

The Zimmerman Law Firm team will help you understand what guardianship means and how to obtain guardianship in Texas. If you have any questions, please contact our Waco guardianship attorneys online or call (254) 252-3590.

Types of Guardianship in Texas

There are two types of guardianships in Texas, guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate.

A guardianship of the person gives the guardian the authority to make decisions about the ward’s personal care and medical treatment, including decisions related to the ward’s health, education, and general welfare.

A guardianship of the estate, on the other hand, gives the guardian the authority to manage the ward’s finances and property, including managing the ward’s income, paying bills, and overseeing investments.

Prospective guardians need to understand that the guardian of an estate is a fiduciary meaning that they have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of that estate.

Once appointed, a guardian of the estate will also be required to post a bond with the court, as assurance that they will uphold their fiduciary duties.

Depending on the ward’s capacity and the prospective guardian’s abilities, two different people may be appointed when both the person and the estate require guardianship.

However, if able to handle the job, a single person can act as guardian for the ward’s person and the ward’s estate – there is no prohibition on doing so.

Steps to Establishing Guardianship

In Texas, a guardianship can only be established by court order. To establish a guardianship, the following steps must be followed:

Step 1: File a Guardianship Application

To file for guardianship, you must complete and file an application with the proper court in the county where the person over whom you would like to establish guardianship resides.

The application will require detailed information about the proposed ward’s physical and mental condition, as well as your qualifications to serve as a guardian.

Upon the filing of an application, the court will appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of the proposed ward.

An attorney ad litem is an attorney who exclusively represents the best interests of the proposed ward. Once an attorney ad litem is appointed, the court may also order an evaluation of the proposed ward to determine if a guardianship is truly necessary.

Step 2: Provide Notice to Interested Parties

After the application is filed, you will need to provide notice of the guardianship proceedings to all interested parties.

This includes the proposed ward, the proposed ward’s spouse and adult children, the proposed ward’s parents if living and not incapacitated, the proposed ward’s nearest living relatives, and the person or entity who has care or control of the proposed ward such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.

The purpose of the notices is to ensure that interested parties have an opportunity to participate in the guardianship proceedings and protect the proposed ward’s rights.

Step 3: Attend a Hearing

The court will hold a hearing to review your application for guardianship. At the hearing, the court will consider the proposed ward’s ability to make decisions for themselves as well as your qualifications to serve as guardian. 

Texas law requires that, before ordering a guardianship, the court must consider less restrictive alternatives; guardianship may only be ordered if it is the least restrictive option to protect the proposed ward’s interests.

If the court determines that guardianship is necessary and that you are qualified to serve as guardian, it will issue an order appointing you as guardian.

Step 4: File a Bond 

Before taking action as a guardian of the estate, you must first file a bond.

The bond, a type of insurance that provides financial protection in case a guardian fails to fulfill their responsibilities, ensures that you will manage the ward’s estate properly.

The amount of the bond is determined by the court and is typically based on the value of the ward’s assets.

Responsibilities of Guardians

Following establishment of a guardianship, guardians have a number of ongoing responsibilities. These responsibilities include making decisions on behalf of the ward that are in the ward’s best interests, providing for the ward’s care, and managing the ward’s finances and property.

In addition, a guardian is required to file annual reports with the court to update the court on the ward’s status.

Get In Contact With A Waco, Texas Estate Attorney Today

Obtaining and administering a guardianship is a complex legal process. Our attorneys are experienced in guardianship matters in the state of Texas. We serve clients in McLennan, Hill, Limestone, Falls, Bell, Coryell, and Bosque Counties.

We can help you navigate the legal process, guide you through a guardianship application, and ensure that you are fulfilling your duties as a guardian in accordance with the law.

If you believe you need a guardianship, contact The Zimmerman Law Firm today or call (254) 252-3590.

Where You Can Find Our Waco, TX Office

Guardianship FAQ

What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian in Texas?

The responsibilities of a guardian in Texas include making decisions about the ward’s health, safety, and well-being, managing the ward’s finances, and submitting regular reports to the court.

How Long Does a Guardianship Last in Texas?

A guardianship in Texas can last until the ward dies, regains capacity, or the court terminates the guardianship.

Can a Guardian Be Removed in Texas?

Yes, a guardian can be removed in Texas if they are found to be acting against the ward’s best interests or if they are unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties.

What Are the Alternatives to Guardianship in Texas?

The alternatives to guardianship in Texas include supported decision-making agreements, powers of attorney, and trusts.