Establishing guardianship over a beloved family member can be a complex and emotional process. However, it can become even more challenging when other family members contest the guardianship, either because they do not believe caretaking is necessary or because they do not agree with who was named guardian.
If your family is in dispute over caretaker designation, a lawyer with experience in contested guardianship in Sugar Land can help. The knowledgeable attorneys at Romano & Sumner understand how Texas guardianship litigation laws work and are practiced at resolving differences while looking out for your loved one’s best interests.
A guardianship is a legal relationship in which one person assumes the care of an incapacitated person, known as the ward. A ward can be a minor, a developmentally or mentally challenged adult, or even a senior citizen with dementia who can no longer care for themselves or manage their own finances.
There are two different types of guardianships. One is caring for a ward, called guardian of the person, and the other is caring for an estate, called guardian of the estate. The same person can be appointed to serve in both roles, but generally only one person can be a guardian at a time. The exception to the single guardian rule are parents of a child or co-conservators of a child.
The Guardian of the Person is responsible for taking care of the ward’s person, meaning the guardian would be in charge of the ward’s physical care, including food, shelter, and medical treatment, as well as their decisions in schooling and supervision.
The Guardian of the Estate is when a person assumes responsibility for the care of the ward’s financial interests. This means the caretaker would be in charge of managing the ward’s income, expense, assets and liabilities.
Unfortunately, some families disagree over the need for a guardianship. The intended ward or other family members may contend that assigning a guardianship is not required because the intended ward still has the necessary mental capacity to make decisions, take care of themselves, and manage their own finances. Sugar Land guardianship attorneys have experience with disputes regarding the mental capacity of an intended ward. They can work with concerned family members to review the facts while considering the intended ward’s best interests.
Even if family members agree that a guardianship is necessary, they may disagree over who the appropriate person to act as caretaker is. In cases involving adults, Texas courts try to appoint guardianship in accordance with the wishes of the ward, if those were expressed before they became incapacitated.
If there was no expressed designation, the courts would typically appoint the ward’s spouse. If the ward was unmarried, the court would look for another relative and then a non-relative who would be an appropriate guardian.
In cases involving minors, Texas courts generally award guardianship to a parent, then to the person that the parent expressly designated. If the child outlives both parents and there was no express designation, courts appoint the nearest ascendant as guardian, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, and then a non-relative, if necessary.
Sometimes, contests arise regarding a person’s appointment as guardian because family members believe that the appointed guardian is not taking adequate care of the ward. If family members think the guardian is abusing their power and making improper, self-serving decisions, rather than in their ward’s best interests, they may want an attorney to help them remove the guardian and request a new one.
They can also benefit from legal advice if the family believes that the guardian has made some careless mistakes regarding the management of an estate. Local guardianship lawyers can look into whether the guardian has acted appropriately and reasonably.
Our team of lawyers understands that issues of contested guardianship in Sugar Land are emotionally challenging. Romano & Sumner will always have the best interests of your loved one in mind as we strive to achieve the best possible outcome. Call today to learn about your legal options in a free consultation.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC