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1. What is guardianship?
Guardianship is the legal process that grants a person the legal authority to manage the property and life of another. Similar in many ways to the power and responsibility of a parent over a child, a guardian becomes responsible for the life and welfare of another person.

For more information, please see our Guardianships page.

2. What types of guardianships are there?
There are two types of guardians and guardianships.

  • Guardian of Person - a guardian appointed to take care of the physical well being of a ward.
  • Guardian of the Estate - a guardian appointed to take care of the property of the ward.

For more information, please see our Guardianships page.

3. Who will be appointed guardian?
If the court decides that a guardian is needed, Texas law provides a priority list for choosing the guardian.

Minor
Parent
Person designated by last surviving parent
Nearest ascendant to the Ward
Next of Kin
Non-Relative
Adult
Person designated before incapacitation
Ward’s spouse
Next of Kin
Non-Relative

4. What is a guardian of person required to do?
The guardian is given the right to make decisions on behalf of the person with a disability. The authority of a guardian is limited to those areas of decision making for which there is evidence to indicate that a person is incapacitated. Some incapacitated persons are able to make responsible decisions in some, but not all areas of their lives. In these situations, the Court may limit the guardianship to only those areas in which the incapacitated person is unable to make responsible decisions.

For more information, please see our Guardianships page.

5. Are there alternatives to guardianship?
Yes. The following are alternatives to guardianship:

  • Representative or Protective Payee - person who is appointed to manage Social Security, Veterans' Administration, Railroad Retirement, Welfare Assistance or other state or Federal benefits or entitlement program payments on behalf of an individual.
  • Trusts and Estate Planning-many individuals plan for the possibility of disability by establishing trusts or other directives. If the proper planning has been done, guardianship is not usually necessary.
  • Power of Attorney - a contract between two individuals where one party gives to the other the authority to make any number of decisions (e.g. medical, placement, financial) on his or her behalf.

6. How long does a guardianship for a minor last?
A guardianship ordinarily lasts until the earliest of these events:

  • the child reaches legal age
  • the child dies
  • the child's assets are used up (if the guardianship was set up solely for the purpose of handling the child's finances), or
  • a judge determines that a guardianship is no longer necessary
  • The law recognizes that many children who turn 18 years old are still not mature enough to manage significant amounts of money or property. In these circumstances, the court can maintain control and supervision of the property until the child reaches the age of 25. Court review and consideration of the status of any guardianship involving a child is recommended before the child turns 18. The Court must act before the child turns 18 if control is to be maintained until 25.

For more information about Guardianship in Texas, please see:

Our Guardianships Page
Articles: Guardianship
Estate Planning & Probate Links
Estate Planning Glossary

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