Like every state, Texas has a system of laws aimed at protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens. From minors, to disabled adults, to a growing elderly population, Texas guardianship law provides a uniform, transparent, and accountable safety net for an incapacitated person. For example, a disabled minor that is turning 18 might need a guardian appointed to assist him or her in a limited capacity. Likewise, an elderly person that is being financially exploited might benefit from the appointment of a guardian to protect his or her estate. While many people can use an estate plan to avoid a guardianship, the tailored fiduciary relationship that the court creates between a guardian and his or her ward is one that should be straightforward and easy to navigate for those that truly require the protection a guardianship affords.
Depending on the circumstances and needs of an incapacitated person, the court could appoint a guardian to provide and manage their basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter, and medical care), and the court could appoint a guardian to provide for the protection, management, and accountability of the incapacitated person’s property. In either case, guardians of a ward’s person and guardians of a ward’s estate must adhere to strict standards in the performance of their legal duties.
In many cases, a qualified family member can serve as guardian for an incapacitated relative or loved one. Other cases, particularly ones where there is conflict or dispute among family members, may require the court to look to alternatives. This might include appointing a third-party guardian or even creating a trust and appointing a bank to manage the ward’s property.