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Guardianship Guide

Wills & Estate Planning

This Texas Young Lawyers Association publication excerpt explains guardianship.

Here, you will learn about guardianships over people who are elderly or have a disability. Learn how a guardian is appointed, and what a guardian does.

Protecting the Incapacitated

Some people need help managing their daily affairs because of their age, a disease, or an injury. If this happens, a court of law may appoint a guardian for them.

Guardian and ward are legal terms used to indicate the relationship between someone who protects another (the guardian) and the person being protected (the ward). In Texas, the process to appoint a guardian includes:

  • Filing an application with a court
  • Having a hearing before a judge
  • Having a judge appoint a guardian, if one is needed

Because having a guardian takes away a person’s rights, it should be the last and the best choice to protect someone. Before asking a court to appoint a guardian, other options are usually tried first, such as:

  • Finding someone to help the person pay bills and manage money
  • Finding someone to help the person make decisions, including health care decisions
  • Enrolling the person in available community services, including Medicaid programs

Once a guardian is appointed, it often becomes permanent. However, if things change significantly, a judge can decide a guardian no longer is needed.

See the Texas Young Lawyers Association's Guardianship Guide.

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