At Stepp & Sullivan, our guardianship attorneys in Houston know there is a lot to understand about establishing the relationship between a guardian and a ward or the estate he or she has been appointed to fulfill in Texas.
First, it is important to establish what type of relationship the guardian will encompass, as several different types of guardianships have very different legal requirements.
Understanding the details regarding the different types of guardianships can help you make the right decisions for your loved one.
Guardianship of an Adult Person and/or Estate
A court-appointed guardianship is usually established because the adult ward — the person who needs help managing his or her personal or financial affairs cannot communicate, or is mentally incapable of managing their affairs without assistance.
Once it is established whether that legal incapacity involves the person, or if it also encompasses their estate, the Guardian of the Person is responsible for the care, maintenance, and personal needs of an incapacitated person.
A Guardian of the Estate is responsible for preserving, protecting, and maintaining the assets and all financial matters of the incapacitated person’s estate.
Often but not always the legal guardian is appointed to both the person and the estate.
Guardianship of a Minor Child in Texas
In Texas, guardianship of a minor is only required when the minor’s parents are unable to care for the child or are deceased.
Typically, parents will outline a Declaration of Guardian in their estate plans, naming the guardian(s) in the event they are needed to care for the child.
Guardianship of a minor child will also be necessary if that minor child is entitled to receive any assets under a Will or Trust, or were established as beneficiaries on retirement benefits, life insurance policies, or other important financial documents since a minor child cannot legally receive assets or own property in Texas.
What is the Difference Between Temporary Guardianship and Permanent Guardianship in Texas?
In short, temporary guardianship is appointed on an as-needed basis, which typically means immediately. If there is no immediate need, then permanent guardianship will be initiated with the courts.
If there is an immediate need, temporary guardianship is established for only 60 days, during which time a permanent guardian may be sought.
Are There Legal Alternatives to Guardianship in Texas?
There are legal alternatives to guardianship that keep the position from becoming unnecessarily restrictive to the ward or overly consuming to the guardian.
They may include, but are not limited to:
- A joint bank account
- A special need’s trust
- A durable power of attorney
- A medical power of attorney, for medical decisions
- An advance directive or living will
A supported decision-making agreement with family or friends can also allow you to make decisions regarding who will care for a minor, elder, special needs, or incapacitated family member if or when their current caretaker or parent is no longer able to do so.
Contact Our Guardianship Attorneys in Houston at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C.
If you would like help ensuring you or your loved ones are cared for properly under any circumstances, contact our experienced guardianship attorneys in Houston today at (713) 336-7200 or online to learn more about the legal requirements necessary to place your mind at ease today and going forward.