A Texas guardianship is used when a person who is elderly or otherwise disabled is unable to care for himself or herself. In this case, the individual needs to have someone else look after his or her affairs and personal well-being. The helper is the guardian; and the person who needs helping is the ward. When a ward requires someone else to make daily life decisions, that individual’s medical care, living arrangements and life affairs are determined by the guardian. This is the reason the guardian needs to be a trusted individual, who has the ward’s best interest at heart as daily care decisions are made.
Texas Guardians and Wards
The wards who always require guardians are typically adults with long-term disabilities, such as people with traumatic brain injuries (i.e. in a comatic state); or who are severely disabled as adults with a genetic childhood disability that they have had their whole lives. People who have severe mental infirmities may also need full-time guardians to help them manage their daily affairs, if they are unable to do so themselves, or are unaware as to what needs to be done and when. It is often necessary to declare that an individual needs a guardianship, where the person may resist it out of stubbornness, or not understanding what is happening. This is not a rare case, and can happen quite frequently.
Texas Guardianships and Acute Mental Infirmities
In the case of actual mental infirmities, the court will take it into consideration the relevant medical diagnosis to determine the appropriateness and scope of a guardianship. Otherwise, without this support, it would leave a person incapable of managing themselves and their own care in their daily life. Some studies show that many homeless people on the streets today were people who could no longer care for themselves, but had no support to get a guardian to help them to make the best decisions for their long-term care and survival.
Texas Guardianship Requirements
In Texas, the ward has to have a court-appointed guardian, which can be an individual, entity or guardianship program that is tasked with caring for the chosen ward. There is definitely a preference to have a family member (not with a criminal conviction though) be the guardian of a ward, as opposed to the state-run health and human services agency.
The court prefers wards to have guardians to help them manage their care, under the watchful eye of someone who does want to protect their quality of life and well-being. The ward is supported emotionally by knowing that the affairs of the ward are protected and managed in the proper manner. The ward’s medical treatments, financial business, and everyday care arrangements are under the control of the guardian, who will look out for the ward’s best interest. In some cases, the ward will lose some basic rights to make decisions, and for this reason the person selected as a guardian needs to be made with care.
A Texas guardian needs to make annual reports to the court regarding the personal and financial affairs of the ward, and an attorney should be involved to help the guardian cover all the bases in regard to compliance issues and accounting of any funds being managed.
If you have any questions, get in touch with a Texas estate planning lawyer to learn more about your rights.