What is guardianship in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Some individuals need someone else to take care of their physical or financial needs because of incapacitation or age. For example, a minor needs an adult guardian, and a person with a disability may need a guardian to make decisions about finances and/or health care on his or her behalf. 

The Texas Law Library provides information about how the courts appoint guardianships of minors and incapacitated adults. 

Guardianship of a minor

Texas calls this type of guardianship “conservatorship,” and a parent may choose the guardian ahead of time and name him or her in a will or estate plan. Although a judge must still officially appoint the guardian, courts rarely overturn the parent’s choice. 

If the parent does not name someone, the court looks first for a relative who can fill the role. Individuals with certain criminal convictions cannot become guardians, but that does not at all mean that the person the court ultimately chooses will be someone the parent approves of. 

Guardianship of an adult

When the court establishes an adult guardianship, it includes details about the guardian’s responsibilities. The court limits these to only those things that the ward cannot do alone. Each duty the guardian takes on may be a right lost to the ward. Not only may the ward lose the ability to make certain decisions, but other family members may also no longer make the decisions. Only the guardian has the legal right. 

Because the relationship between guardian and ward is a legal one, the court does provide oversight. However, many legal alternatives, such as powers of attorney and health care directives, allow people to make their own choices and control the outcome rather than leave the entire matter in the hands of a judge.