Guardianship Litigation & Contested Guardianship
“Family disputes concerning guardianship are incredibly difficult. Let our competent and experienced guardianship contest attorneys make your fight easier.”
Guardianship Lawyers Assisting Family Members throughout Sugar Land, Houston and the Surrounding Areas
The Guardianship process involves the appointment of an individual to serve as a decision maker for a person (the “ward”) who is incapable of making decisions on their own (either because they are a minor or because they have lost mental capacity). A guardianship contest typically involves a dispute over whether an individual has lost mental capacity, a disagreement about who is best suited to serve as an individual’s guardian, or the removal of a guardian who is not fulfilling their fiduciary duty to the ward (either because they are not properly taking care of the ward’s business or because they are stealing money from the ward’s estate).
The trial lawyers at Romano & Sumner in Sugar Land, TX can handle all manner of contested guardianship and guardianship litigation matters. A few of the more common examples of contested guardianship and guardianship litigation matters our firm has experience with include:
- Competing Guardianship Applications
- Contested Guardianship Proceedings
- Removal of a Guardian
- Defending Against a Guardianship
Read below for a more thorough explanation of these services.
The trial attorneys at Romano & Sumner have experience in handling a variety of contested guardianship and guardian litigation matters.
Competing Guardianship Applications
Often there is no question that someone needs to have a guardian appointed; however, there may be a disagreement about who is the best person to serve in such capacity. In these situations, multiple family members or individuals will file applications to have themselves appointed as guardian, and it is then up to the court to determine who is the most suitable candidate.
Some typical scenarios that lead to competing guardianship applications include:
- Daughter 1 has filed an application to be mother’s guardian; however, Daughter 2 is concerned because she knows that her sister, who has filed for bankruptcy several times over the past 10 years, is fiscally irresponsible.
- Son has filed an application to be father’s guardian. Daughter files a competing application for guardianship because she is aware that her brother has been taking advantage of their father financially for years and that it is not likely brother will change his ways anytime soon.
- Daughter 1 has been living with and taking care of mother for many years. When the time comes for mother to have a guardian appointed, Daughter 2 from out-of-town who never bothered to call or visit over the past decade has all of a sudden decided she is the most qualified person to be mother’s guardian and files an application to be appointed as such. Daughter 1 suspects her sister’s sudden interest in their mother has more to do with the size of mother’s estate than it does with actual concern for mom’s welfare.
The guardianship litigation attorneys at Romano & Sumner have the experience to represent you as an applicant in a guardianship proceeding involving competing applications. Our firm will aggressively represent you in your effort to ensure that the right person is appointed as guardian for your loved one.
Contested Guardianship Proceedings
The Situation: That the court will appoint a guardian over someone (the “Proposed Ward”) is never a foregone conclusion. The Proposed Ward has the right to, and often does, fight the appointment of a guardian. Some of the more common situations we see where the Proposed Ward fights against the appointment of a guardian are:
- Dad is a self-made man and has been very independent his whole life. Although his advancing Alzheimer’s has made it impossible to keep track of his own finances or remember to take his medications, Dad refuses to admit that he needs the assistance of a guardian. To make matters worse, father has developed an uncanny ability to fool those who don’t know him very well into thinking that there is nothing wrong with him.
- One of the symptoms of Mother’s dementia is that she is increasingly paranoid that her children are stealing from her. Because Mother does not trust anyone, she is unwilling to agree to have a guardian appointed for her in spite of the fact that she regularly forgets to bathe for weeks at a time.
The Solution: The Contested Guardianship attorneys at Romano & Sumner have experience in presenting the proper evidence at contested guardianship proceedings to prove that the Proposed Ward truly needs the assistance of a guardian. If your loved one refuses to accept the appointment of a guardian in spite of an obvious need for assistance, contact the Contested Guardianship litigators at Romano & Sumner for guidance.
Removal of a Guardian
Guardians who have been appointed to make decisions for an incapacitated person (the “Ward”) are required to put the Ward’s interests ahead of their own and to safeguard the Ward’s assets and personal property. When a Guardian acts in a manner that is not in the best interest of the Ward, the Guardian can be removed by the court and a successor guardian may be appointed.
A few of the more common stories we hear in guardianship removal proceedings include:
- Son is appointed as his father’s guardian. After being appointed, son’s lifestyle improves dramatically, including the purchase of a new house as well as a fancy new car. Turns out son’s new found wealth came from his father’s bank account he was entrusted to protect.
- After being appointed as her mother’s guardian, daughter immediately places mom in a nursing home. Daughter regularly fails to attend care planning meetings at the nursing home and fails to respond to phone calls from the nursing home staff regarding healthcare decisions that need to be made.
- After being appointed as his father’s guardian, son transfers all of dad’s assets (including the homestead) into his own name under the auspice of “Medicaid Planning”.
The guardianship litigation lawyers at Romano & Sumner have seen some of the most egregious cases of guardians neglecting their duties and/or taking financial advantage of a ward. If you believe the guardian appointed for your loved one has failed to perform their duties or has taken advantage of their trusted position, the law firm of Romano & Sumner can assist you in taking the necessary steps to remove the guardian and have a successor guardian appointed.
Defending Against Guardianship
It is unfortunate, but occasionally guardianship applications are filed even though, in reality, there is no real need for a guardian to be appointed.
With slight variations, the following situation mirrors the ones we usually see:
An elderly man has some physical disabilities but is still mentally very sharp. With the assistance of a caretaker the man has no trouble living a moderately independent life. However, financially strapped son has concocted stories about his father’s mental decline and has filed an application for guardianship in order to get control over dad’s sizable estate.
If someone has filed an application to be appointed as your guardian for nefarious reasons, call the guardianship litigation lawyers at Romano & Sumner to discuss your right to remain independent and to continue making your own decisions. If you are looking for aggressive, knowledgeable trial lawyers to represent you in a guardianship litigation matter or a contested guardianship matter, contact the Houston area law office of Romano & Sumner today.
Romano & Sumner, LLC is proud to serve these Texas areas
Cities / Suburbs:
The Woodlands | Sugar Land | Baytown | Conroe | Katy | Friendswood | Pearland | League City | Richmond | Rosenberg | Spring | Humble | Kingwood | Clear Lake City | Stafford | Jersey Village | Cypress | Missouri City
77478 | 77479 | 77487 | 77496 | 77498 | 77459 | 77489
Harris County, Fort Bend County, and surrounding counties