Obtaining a guardianship can be a complex legal process. The term “guardianship” refers to the court supervision of an incapacitated person. The court appoints a guardian legal authority to make personal and/or financial decisions for the incapacitated person.
It involves petitioning the court to appoint someone as the legal guardian of another person, known as the “ward.” This can be necessary when the ward is unable to make decisions for themselves due to age, disability, or some other circumstance.
Who can Serve as a Guardian?
The courts generally give preference to the following persons when deciding who can serve as the guardian:
- the spouse of the incapacitated person,
- the nearest of kin, considering the minor’s best interests, or
- an eligible person who is best qualified to serve.
If the ward is a minor and is at least 12, the minor may select a guardian in writing, subject to the court’s finding that it is in the best interest of the minor.
Steps in Obtaining a Guardianship
The first step in obtaining a guardianship is to determine eligibility to be a guardian. In Texas, a potential guardian must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to be a guardian. Once these requirements are met, the potential guardian can proceed to the next steps.
The next step is to file a petition for guardianship in the county where the ward resides. The court will need to be provided with information about the ward’s age, residence, and reasons why the guardianship is necessary. This might include evidence of the ward’s disability or inability to make decisions for themselves.
Once the petition has been filed, the guardian will need to serve it on the ward and any interested parties. This means that a copy of the petition must be delivered to the ward and anyone else who may have an interest in the guardianship, such as the ward’s family members.
After the petition has been served, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether a guardianship is necessary and, if so, who should be appointed as the guardian. Interested guardians will need to attend this hearing and present evidence to support their petitions. The ward and any interested parties will also have the opportunity to present evidence and argue their case.
If the court grants the guardianship, the guardian will be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the ward and for managing their finances and personal care. This can be a significant undertaking, so it’s important to be prepared for the responsibilities involved.
Alternatives to Guardianship
Obtaining a guardianship is not the only solution that is available for incapacitated individuals. Other such options include:
- Execution of a medical power of attorney
- Appointment of an agent under a durable power of attorney
- Execution of a declaration for mental health treatment
- Appointment of a representative payee to manage public benefits
- Establishment of a joint bank account
- Creation of a Chapter 1301 management trust
- Creation of a special needs trust
- Designation of a guardian before a need arises
- Establishment of alternate forms of decision making based on person-centered planning.
Overall, obtaining a guardianship in San Antonio, Texas requires careful planning and attention to the legal requirements. By understanding the process and seeking the help of an attorney, you can ensure that you are properly appointed as the guardian of your loved one.
Our San Antonio Probate Attorneys provide a full range of probate services to our clients, including helping with guardianships. Affordable rates, fixed fees, and payment plans are available. We provide step-by-step instructions, guidance, checklists, and more for completing the probate process. We have years of combined experience we can use to support and guide you with probate and estate matters. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation.
The content of this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information presented may not apply to your situation and should not be acted upon without consulting a qualified probate attorney. We encourage you to seek the advice of a competent attorney with any legal questions you may have.