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Appoint Legal Guardian Guide

When a person is incapable of making decisions for themselves, such as a minor child without parents or an incapacitated adult, a Texas court can appoint a legal guardian to manage their affairs. The appointment of a legal guardian can be a complex and contentious topic for families and loved ones. As such, developing a thorough understanding of the process is crucial to ensuring everyone knows their rights and responsibilities according to state law. The experienced attorneys at Adams Law Firm have compiled this comprehensive guide for potential guardians and family members.

What Is a Legal Guardian?

Guardianship in Texas is a legal process that removes the rights of one individual (the ward) for their own best interests and gives them to another (the guardian). Guardianship is granted and the process is monitored by the court.

Texas recognizes two types of legal guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate.

  • Guardianship of the person grants a guardian control over the ward’s personal matters, such as educational, medical, and housing decisions.
  • Guardianship of the estate grants a guardian control over the ward’s finances and belongings.

Depending on the situation, the same person can serve as a ward’s guardian of the person and guardian of the estate. 

Circumstances that may require a guardianship may include:

  • When an older adult develops dementia and is no longer able to manage their affairs
  • When an adult is in a coma
  • When a minor child loses both of their parents 

How Long Does Legal Guardianship Last?

The term of legal guardianship depends on the circumstances. 

Guardianship for minors typically lasts until the child turns 18 or becomes emancipated. 

Guardianship for incapacitated adults can be permanent or temporary, depending on the circumstances. For example, guardianship of an older adult with Alzheimer’s may be permanent, but guardianship of an individual in a coma can end if they recover.

In either case, a court can terminate or modify a guardianship if the situation changes. 

Can a Guardian Sign Legal Documents?

Guardians have the legal authority to sign documents on behalf of their wards. These may include:

  • Medical consent forms
  • Financial transactions
  • Housing agreements
  • Tax forms 

When signing legal forms on behalf of a ward, it is imperative that a guardian act in the ward’s best interests.

How Old Does a Legal Guardian Need to Be?

To be eligible to serve as a guardian in Texas, an individual must be at least 18 years old. They must also be Texas resident without convictions of crimes of moral turpitude or crimes against the person. 

What Rights and Responsibilities Does a Legal Guardian Have?

Appoint Legal Guardian Guide

As a legal guardian in Texas, you are entrusted with significant rights and responsibilities concerning the well-being of your ward. It’s essential to understand and fulfill these duties diligently and ethically.

The rights of a legal guardian include:

  • Personal Decisions – A guardian of the person has the right to make decisions regarding the ward’s living arrangements, healthcare, education, and overall personal care.
  • Financial Decisions – A guardian of the estate has the right to manage the ward’s finances, including income, assets, investments, and expenditures.
  • Legal Representation – A guardian has the right to represent the ward in legal matters and sign legal documents on their behalf.

The responsibilities of a legal guardian include:

  • Best Interests – The primary responsibility of a guardian is to act in the ward’s best interests at all times, ensuring their safety, well-being, and quality of life.
  • Basic Needs – A guardian of the person must provide for the ward’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.
  • Financial Management – A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the ward’s finances prudently, keeping accurate records, and making decisions that protect and grow the ward’s assets.
  • Regular Reporting – Guardians are required to submit regular reports to the court detailing the ward’s condition, living arrangements, and financial status.
  • Ethical Conduct – Guardians must maintain the highest ethical standards, avoiding conflicts of interest and self-dealing and always putting the ward’s interests first.

It’s important to note that a guardian’s rights and responsibilities are subject to court oversight and may vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances. Guardians who fail to fulfill their duties diligently and ethically may face legal consequences, including the termination of their guardianship.

Contact a Texas Guardianship Attorney Today

Guardianship proceedings are highly complex matters requiring a delicate balance of decisiveness, sensitivity, and legal knowledge. The experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable team of Texas attorneys at Adams Law Firm have handled guardianship matters for more than 35 years. Our legal team understands the unique challenges potential guardians and wards face, and we can craft a careful plan to meet your needs and support the potential ward’s best interests. Contact us online or call us today at (281) 391-9237 for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help you.


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