Our parents are there for us when we are young. In some cases, as our parents’ age, it becomes clear that they need us to step into a more active role in their lives. In some situations, this may involve taking on the role of a guardian.
What is a guardian? Guardianship occurs when the court agrees that a certain person, referred to as a ward, needs the help of another person. Under Texas state law, a guardian is the person that takes on this helping role.
The process requires the guardian file an application with the court, complete a hearing and receives official appointment as a guardian by a judge. The hearing generally involves a determination of incapacity. This can include the review of testimony and medical documentation.
The court will decide the extent of the guardian’s role. In some cases, the court may put limitations on the acting guardian’s authority. The process is not a one-size-fits all situation, but one that can be tailored to each unique relationship
The need for a guardian can arise in a number of situations. Advanced age and illness are two common examples.
What are the benefits of guardianship? Going through the legal process to become a guardian can lead to control over financial accounts, medical decisions and living arrangements. This can result in a greater ability for the guardian to protect their loved one from financial exploitation and other forms of abuse.
Does anything else need to be done once a guardian is approved? The process is not complete after the initial approval is granted. It is an ongoing process that generally requires additional reporting requirements, often 30 days after approval. This often includes the need to file an inventory outlining the debts owed by the loved one that is now under the guardian’s care and other expenses. In Texas, the guardianship will expire if not renewed on a yearly basis.