Legal guardians are granted certain legal rights to act on behalf of the ward they are protecting. Depending on the type of guardianship and the rights granted by the court, a guardian may have the right to:
The state of Texas recognizes a few types of guardianship. If you are interested in establishing the right to care for a minor, a Sugar Land guardianship lawyer could help explain the process of acquiring these rights and inform you of the obligations you must adhere to. The attorneys at Romano & Sumner could help you determine if you have grounds to seek guardianship of another or assist you in appointing someone to care for a minor.
Two primary forms of guardianship rights may be conferred upon someone: guardianship of the estate and guardianship of the person. Typically, a named or court-appointed guardian has the responsibility to oversee their ward’s economic interests (guardian of the estate) as well as their physical care and well-being (guardian of the person). However, there may be cases where someone is appointed guardian of an estate or a person only and not both.
A guardian makes essential decisions on behalf of the ward, such as those regarding their health care, living situation, and the management of their financial concerns. There are several prevailing circumstances where a guardianship relationship could be established. A guardian is commonly appointed to handle the private and economic interests of a child under the age of 18.
In addition, guardianship is also common in cases where an adult does not have the mental capacity to make these types of decisions on their own, whether due to age, disability, or another incapacitating reason. The law considers an individual to be incapacitated if they have not yet reached the age of legal majority, or due to a psychological or physical ailment, cannot see to their own personal or economic concerns.
Specific individuals seeking guardianship will be given precedence based on their relationship to their prospective ward. For example, in the case of a person who has not reached the legal majority, either parent of the ward has precedence for guardianship rights, followed by an individual named by a child’s parent, followed by close blood relatives such as grandparents.
A person who has not been named by a minor’s parents to serve as guardian of their child and is not related to the child in question will typically have the last precedence for guardianship rights. If a Ward is 18 or older, but due to a physical or psychological condition, cannot manage their own financial or personal affairs, any individual they appointed before becoming indisposed would have primary precedence for guardianship rights.
There may be circumstances where the court determines that someone is not eligible to hold the position of guardian, however. For instance, if a Declaration of a Guardian was filed before a parent’s incapacitation, but the court finds that the named guardian has a violent criminal background, their eligibility could be questioned, and the judge may decide to appoint someone else to oversee the ward’s affairs. A Sugar Land representative could review someone’s potential legal standing to seek guardianship of a family member or loved one.
Texas Laws have strict guidelines that are followed in order to determine whether or not a person is “incapacitated”. Under Texas law, an adult is considered “incapacitated” if that person, due to a physical or a mental condition, is: (a) substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter for himself or herself; (b) substantially unable to care for his or her own physical health; or (c) is substantially unable to manage his or her own financial matters.
A “minor,” under Texas law, is defined as a person younger than 18 years old who has never been married. An exception may apply if the court “removed,” by judicial action, the status of that person as a minor. Technically, Texas law considers a minor to be “incapacitated,” absent any such exception. You should consult an experienced guardianship attorney experienced in Texas for further clarification on this complicated issue.
Incapacity, by definition of Texas law, must be proven. The legal standard is “clear and convincing evidence,” a very high standard to meet. If the ward is not a minor, a doctor must examine the proposed ward and file a certificate with the court based upon that examination. This must be done within very time-specific guidelines. Should the court find it necessary to appoint a guardian, Texas law provides a priority list of who should be appointed based upon family relationships. If you need help determining if your loved one needs guardianship or if they show signs of incapacity, contact the guardianship attorneys at Romano & Sumner today for advice.
The rights and duties of a guardian will depend on the type of guardianship relationship that has been established.
If someone is appointed guardian of the person of an individual, it is their responsibility to ensure the ward has their basic needs met, such as those for food, shelter, and clothing. They also have the legal authority to agree to the admission of their ward to a psychiatric institution, as well as to make significant decisions about other aspects of their healthcare.
The guardian of the estate will have a wide range of duties imposed upon them for the ward’s protection. These duties can include keeping track of their spending and assets, ensuring timely tax payments on their behalf, keeping a detailed record of any appreciation or depreciation of their assets, and other responsibilities associated with managing the ward’s property and finances.
A person appointed as guardian of someone’s estate is responsible for managing the individual’s financial interests. A local legal advisor could help someone understand the duties they are obligated to by their guardianship and help them adhere to the tasks in the most appropriate manner.
The decision to designate a guardian or pursue guardianship rights is not one that should be taken lightly. Obtaining guardianship can be complicated, and sometimes there may be better alternatives that could be more appropriate to the situation. If you would like to discuss your questions or concerns with a Sugar Land guardianship lawyer, get in touch with the legal team of Romano & Sumner today for a free consultation.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC