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What should you know about guardian priority?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Fiduciary Representation |

Despite naming someone as guardian, this is not necessarily enough to set this designation in stone. Specific factors might actually make someone unqualified for guardianship.

On top of that, a priority list exists for choosing a guardian. But what is it, and what does this mean?

Who qualifies as a guardian?

Texas Health and Human Services discuss who qualifies for the position of guardian. Others do not. It is possible for a court to skip over a person on the priority list if they have a quality that disqualifies them from taking this role.

Some such factors of disqualification include incapacitation, conflict of interest with the ward, a lack of experience, a lack of residency within Texas, bad conduct, and unfit findings by the court. Additionally, minors cannot serve as a guardian. Those deemed to lack the education or sense necessary to properly manage a ward will also lose their qualification.

What is the priority list?

When a Texas court decides that a minor is in need of a ward or guardian, the first person they look to is any surviving parent. In some cases, the minor may not have one. In others, the surviving parent may not have the qualifications necessary to take over as guardian.

After looking at the parents, the courts then look at the following people in order. First, they look for a person that a parent designated as guardian through proper legal channels. Then, they look for the nearest ascendant. Next of kin follows, and a close non-relative is last. In this way, it is possible to determine the next guardian of a minor.