How Does Guardianship of an Adult Work in Texas?
There are many situations where you might need to seek legal guardianship of an adult in Texas, such as when your aging parents suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's or another illness which prevents them from handling their personal affairs. Another example could be a mentally disabled child who needs you to continue managing his or her personal care and finances into adulthood. Legal guardianship is obtained by making an application to the probate court for guardianship.
As the guardian, court-order legal guardianship gives you authority to step in and help when you are needed. The person who needs help and protection is known as the ward, whether the ward is your mother, father, adult child or other person in need of protection.
Is guardianship the same as a power of attorney?
In some ways, guardianship conveys the same authority as a durable power of attorney. A person who is mentally sound can sign a durable power of attorney to allow another person to manage his or her affairs in they become incapacitated. A power of attorney is not valid, however, if the person signing the power of attorney does not have the mental capacity to fully understand the purpose and effect of the document.
When the person in need of protection does not have a durable power of attorney in place, then a guardianship proceeding is the only other alternative in Texas. Guardianship must be applied for in the probate court and sufficient evidence must support the petition for the court to grant guardianship as requested.
How long does legal guardianship continue?
Once guardianship is in place, the probate judge decides whether the guardianship is temporary or indefinite, depending on whether the person is expected to get better. Either way, for the duration of the guardianship, the guardian has a legal duty to provide or oversee the daily care and maintenance of the ward, advocate for the ward and make decisions in keeping with the ward's best interests. Failing to fulfill those duties can result in penalties and removal as the guardian.
How long does it take to get legal guardianship in Texas?
Guardianship doesn't happen overnight, and can take several weeks or months, depending on the urgency of the case and the probate court's case load. If you find yourself in need of legal authority to back up your decisions for a parent, adult child or other person in need of protection, be sure to start the guardianship application process as soon as possible.
The experienced Bryan, Texas probate attorneys at the Peterson Law Group prepare your guardianship petition and represent you through the probate court process, all the way to the end of the guardianship period if needed. Call us at 979-703-7014 today to schedule a consultation.