FAQ For Guardianship

  1. Q: What is guardianship?

    A: Guardianship is the legal process for appointing a person to protect and care for a person and property, such as a child with special needs, or an incapacitated adult, often referred to asa “Ward,” who does not have the mental or physical capacity to manage his or her own interests.

  2. Q: When should I seek a guardianship for my child, spouse or parent?

    A: Any of these situations can lead to circumstances requiring a guardianship:

    • When a disabled child reaches the age of majority, 18 years old because their parents by law are no longer the legal guardian.
    • When a minor child inherits or is awarded money or property. In Texas, a minor is presumed incapable of managing finances, but the law does not automatically provide that the minor’s parents can manage the inherited money or property. In this instance, a Court has to appoint a guardian of the child’s estate (finances).
    • When an elderly person who has been affected by a condition that leaves them mentally or physically unable to:
      • Feed, clothe or shelter themselves;
      • Care for their individual physical health; or
      • Manage their personal financial affairs.
  3. Q: What is the first step in attempting to gain guardianship over a minor child or an incapacitated adult?

    A: In order to begin the guardianship process, the proposed guardian, usually the parents of a minor child, or family members of elderly persons, must file an application with the court stating their request for appointment. With this application, a letter from the proposed Ward’s doctor or psychiatrist must also be filed to verify that the proposed Ward is, in fact, incapacitated.

  4. Q: Who can become a guardian of a minor child or an incapacitated adult?

    A: The best choice is a person who is acceptable to the proposed Ward and who sincerely and unselfishly cares for the person with a disability. In addition, the guardian should live near that person so that the guardian can be active in his or her care, treatment, and training.

  5. Q: Are there different types of guardianship?

    A: Yes, there are two different types of guardianships. A Guardian of the Estate manages theWard’s property and assets. A Guardian of the Person is responsible for the Ward’s personal,medical and welfare decisions. A individual can be appointed both Guardian of the Person andEstate for a Ward.

  6. Q: Will anyone be representing the minor child or incapacitated adult’s interests?

    A: Yes, the Court will appoint an Attorney Ad Litem to represent the minor child orincapacitated adult. The Attorney Ad Litem will usually visit them in order to gain a fullunderstanding of the proposed Ward’s situation and needs.

  7. Q: Are all of the Ward’s rights removed?

    A: No, the only rights that will be removed are those the court deems the proposed Ward is unable to handle on their own.

    • These rights may include the right to:
      • Operate a vehicle
      • Vote
      • Consent to medical treatment
      • Manage, buy, or sell property
      • Determine residence
      • Marry
      • Make end of life decisions