Guardianship FAQs

If you have questions about setting up a guardianship in Texas, the lawyers of Bakutis, McCully & Sawyer, P.C. can help. Our firm has significant experience in these legal matters, and we can provide you with helpful information about becoming a guardian or setting one up.

What is a guardianship, and how does it work?

When a guardianship is established, an individual or entity is appointed to manage the personal or financial matters on behalf of another individual who doesn't have the legal capacity to act independently. Guardianships are most often used to protect the interests of a minor child, an elderly individual, or an adult who is mentally incapacitated.

What types of guardianships are there?

There are two types of guardianships in Texas:

Guardian of the estate — An individual or entity responsible for handling the financial interests of another person.
Guardian of the person — An individual who manages the personal interests of another person. This may include making decisions regarding health care, education, and other personal needs.

How does the State of Texas define "minor" in regard to guardianships?

A minor is an individual under the age of 18.

How does the State of Texas define "incapacitated" in regard to guardianships?

There must be a court order declaring an individual to be incapacitated. This most often refers to an adult who is incapable of managing his or her own personal affairs due to an injury or illness, drug or alcohol abuse, a birth injury, or other reason.

What do I need to do to get a guardian appointed?

Establishing a guardianship is a court proceeding. Except in the case of a minor, a medical evaluation is necessary, as well as a letter from the doctor treating the individual for whom a guardianship is sought.

Who is likely to be appointed guardian?

The court will look to the family first to determine if there is anyone qualified to serve as guardian. A family member is often the best choice to serve, because that person will be familiar with the history of care for the family member.

Choosing a non-family member can be an option for guardian especially when it is necessary to manage the financial affairs of the proposed incapacitated person. Some families choose an attorney or other professional to serve this role.

The same person — if qualified — can serve as both guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.

Is setting up a guardianship expensive?

Yes. On the front end, there are several motions and pleadings that have to be filed in court and the filing fees are expensive. The guardian must get court approval for spending amounts and allowances. Additionally, the guardian must account annually for financial decisions in a certain form that the court requires. An attorney is required to represent guardians of the estate, to file all of the necessary applications, which results in attorneys' fees being paid out of the guardianship estate. The guardian is required to have a bond, which is similar to insurance, and an annual premium payment must be paid from the guardianship funds. All of these components contribute to the expense of establishing a guardianship.

I can't afford a guardian. What are my options?

In Tarrant County, Texas, there is a volunteer guardian organization that in some cases will serve as guardian of the person. Also in some cases the legal fees are paid for by the county.

How can an attorney help with a guardianship?

Our law firm can explain your options, set up a guardianship, and also represent you if you are appointed as guardian of the estate. Our law firm has significant experience in guardianship legal matters. We know the court requirements, when to file, deadlines, and other important administrative matters. We can keep guardians on track to ensure compliance with all court requirements.

Contact a Fort Worth Guardianship Lawyer

To learn more about setting up a guardianship, contact a Fort Worth guardianship lawyer from our firm.

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