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Should I Establish Guardianship for My Elderly Loved One?

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tarrant-county-estate-planning-lawyer.jpgA family may need to address multiple issues related to the needs of a person as they get older. Seniors can sometimes struggle to handle concerns related to their health, their finances, and their day-to-day needs. In these situations, other family members will often be able to step in, offer assistance, or even provide a home and round-the-clock care to address medical and personal concerns. When doing so, a person may be unsure about the best steps to take to ensure that they will have the right to make decisions on behalf of their loved one. By consulting with an attorney who can provide guidance in matters related to estate planning and elder law, a family can determine whether establishing guardianship may be the right choice in their situation.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Guardianship

Texas law allows a person to be named as someone’s legal guardian, which will give them the right to make certain decisions, as well as the responsibility to act in the best interests of the ward and provide for their ongoing needs. To establish guardianship, a person will need to file a petition in court, and their request will typically only be granted if there is evidence that the proposed ward is incapacitated, meaning that they are unable to fully provide for their own personal, medical, or financial needs. An examination by a doctor may be required to determine the person’s mental state and physical abilities, and a court hearing will be held where a judge will decide whether guardianship is necessary.

There are two types of guardianship that may be established. A guardian of the person will have physical possession of the ward, and they will be responsible for providing care, supervision, and protection, making decisions about the ward’s medical care and treatment, and addressing other personal needs. A guardian of the estate will be able to manage a ward’s property and finances, including collecting income or benefits, paying expenses, and addressing legal issues that may affect the ward.

Guardianship can be restrictive, and it can result in a loss of control for the ward, since they will need to rely on the guardian to make decisions about multiple aspects of their lives. Guardians must also meet certain legal requirements, including filing annual reports with the court and attending hearings to determine whether continued guardianship is necessary. Depending on a person’s situation, less restrictive options may be available, including a limited guardianship that will allow a ward to retain control over certain decisions or the appointment of a surrogate decision-maker who can work together with a person to make decisions and address their ongoing needs. Powers of attorney may also be used to name a person who can make certain types of decisions while setting down a person’s wishes for how medical or financial matters should be handled.

Contact Our Fort Worth Elder Law Attorney

If you have questions about whether guardianship is the right choice for your family or whether other options may be a better fit for your situation, Gonzalez Law, PLLC can provide the guidance you need. We will help you determine the ideal solution for your family, and we will work with you to create any legal agreements that may be needed. Contact our Tarrant County estate planning lawyer today at 817-349-7730 to discuss elder law issues in a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/laws-regulations/legal-information/guardianship/pub395-guardianship.pdf

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ES/htm/ES.1101.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ES/htm/ES.1151.htm

 

The First Step: Call Today
It is never too late to get help on your estate plan. To discuss your situation with a seasoned estate planning attorney, call our Fort Worth office at 817-349-7730. Or, reach out through our online contact form. We will respond as soon as possible.
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