We all want to be able to take care of ourselves, but this isn’t always possible. Due to physical limitations or lack of mental capacities, some adults aren’t able to provide food, clothing, and shelter for themselves. Someone who is unable to physically care for themselves or manage their own financial assets often benefits from the oversight of a trusted family member. Guardianship can appoint someone to care for them and manage their life.

However, guardianship is extremely limiting for the ward, and it can sometimes even damage their health or mental abilities further. At the Hager Law Firm, our guardianship lawyers, led by Attorney Elizabeth Anderson, work hard to ensure both guardian and ward are protected and taken care of. If someone you love is incapable of taking care of themselves, Attorney Anderson can help you decide if guardianship is the right call.

When someone becomes unable to provide for themselves, Texas courts may assign a legally appointed guardian to care for them. This guardian has the right to make decisions on the ward’s behalf, such as handling financial investments and organizing medical treatment. This relationship can create a heavy burden on both the guardian and the ward and is often the last resort when other options fail to help the situation.

It’s important to note that guardianship and conservatorship are two different legal terms. Guardianship refers to the caretaking of an adult, whereas conservatorship refers to the custody of a minor.

Guardians are most often close family members of the ward. When a judge rules that someone needs a guardian, they will also take the ward’s preferences into consideration when possible. If the ward does not have any family members, a “private professional guardian” can be appointed for them by the courts.

An estate attorney can help you get your affairs in order

In order to install a guardianship relationship, the guardian must submit an application to the appropriate court and attend a formal hearing. For larger counties, this will take place in a probate court. If your county does not have a probate court, then this will take place in the county court. After the hearing, a judge will rule on whether or not guardianship is appropriate.

If it is, you must then register your guardianship with the Judicial Branch Certification Commission.

Guardianship cases can get messy, especially if the ward does not believe they are in need of assistance or if someone else contests guardianship. In these cases, having a trained and qualified guardianship lawyer on your side can help ease the process. By knowing the ins and outs of Texas guardianship laws, Attorney Anderson can help you determine the next steps you need to take.

Although they do not have the right to make their own decisions, wards can still petition the court to have their guardianship changed or even have their legal capacity restored. This right to guardianship is protected under the Ward’s Bill of Rights. After filing a petition, a judge will review the case, hear testimony, and decide if a change is necessary or appropriate. For many cases, Texas courts will require a yearly review of guardianship to determine if a change is required, regardless of whether a ward submits a petition or not.

Alternatives to Guardianship

Guardianship can be a good way to help protect someone who can’t take care of themselves. But it does take away a great deal of freedom and peace of mind from the ward. At the Hager Law Firm, we believe in finding a solution that will help everyone involved. As such, Attorney Anderson may offer alternative solutions to guardianship that may fit your needs better.

child custody

In many cases, your loved one may just need a little help making their own decisions. They may not be able to gather all the relevant information or go over legal documents on their own, but they can still decide what’s right for them when they do have all the data. In these instances, supported decision-making may be a better option than guardianship.

This is an informal alternative to guardianship, as the relationship between a supporter and the supported does not need to be established by a court or kept as a legal record. Instead, a supporter is simply there to attend meetings and confidential hearings with their loved one to offer assistance in weighing their options. The ultimate decision-making, however, is still in the hands of the supported.

For many with disabilities, there are only certain tasks that they are unable to perform on their own. For example, someone with severe anxiety over medical concerns may not be able to make the best decisions when it comes to their healthcare. While they may need someone to help make medical decisions on their behalf, they can still work and manage their own financial records.

In these cases, the ‘principal’ can assign an ‘agent’ to act on their behalf. This durable power of attorney relationship is similar to a guardianship, giving one person the legal right to make decisions for another. However, it’s much less restrictive, and it allows the affected individual to dictate what aspects of their life their loved ones control. This gives them more freedom while still providing them with the help they may need.

Why Choose the Hager Law Firm for Guardianship Cases?

If someone you love is struggling to take care of themselves, it may be time for you to step in. But guardianship can be a major undertaking, and it’s not always the best course of action. At the Hager Law Firm, we believe in protecting the rights of our clients and all those involved in a case. Attorney Anderson will sit down with you to discuss your situation and determine if guardianship is the right path. If not, she’ll help you determine what you can do to help support and care for your loved ones.

Call the Hager Law Firm today at (903) 466-0001 to schedule a consultation about your case with a trained and qualified guardianship attorney.