Guardianship administration involves court-supervised care of an incapacitated individual or a minor. The person appointed by the court to oversee the care required is referred to as the “guardian,” and the person so cared for is called the “ward.
Under Texas law, an adult is considered “incapacitated” if that person, due to a physical or a mental condition, is: (a) substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter for himself or herself; (b) substantially unable to care for his or her own physical health; or (c) is substantially unable to manage his or her own financial matters
A “minor,” under Texas law, is defined as a person younger than 18 years old who has never been married. An exception may apply if the court has “removed,” by judicial action, the status of that person as a minor. Technically, Texas law considers a minor to be “incapacitated,” absent any such exception. You should consult an attorney experienced in Guardianship matters for further clarification on this complicated issue.
There are two types of guardianship: (1) guardianship of the person and (2) guardianship of the estate. “Of the person” means taking care of the physical well-being of the ward. “Of the estate” means taking care of the ward’s property, assets, and business interests. One or both types of guardian may be appointed. If both are appointed, that person may be the same individual. Typically, this is the case. In other circumstances, there may be an individual person appointed for each type of guardianship.
Incapacity, by definition of Texas law, must be proven. The legal standard is “clear and convincing evidence,” a very high standard to meet. If the ward is not a minor, a doctor must examine the proposed ward and file a certificate with the court based upon that examination. This must be done within very time specific guidelines. Should the appointment of a guardian be necessitated by the court, Texas law provides a priority list based upon family relationships.
For legal advice, do not hesitate to contact experienced guardianship attorney. The initial consultation is free; simply fill out the form on this page.