A guardianship is a relationship established by a court of law between the person who needs help (called a ward) and the person or entity (called a guardian) named by the court to help the ward.
In Texas, a person does not have a guardian until an application to appoint one is filed with a court, a hearing is held and a judge appoints a guardian. Some people need a guardian for their entire adult life because of long-term disabilities, while others may need a guardian as a result of a brain injury or other traumatic event.
Still others may need a guardian as age and health problems affect their ability to provide for themselves. In many cases, once a guardian is appointed, the guardianship becomes permanent. There are some exceptions, particularly when circumstances change, and a guardianship is no longer needed. Since guardianship affects a person’s rights, it is important to know the implications of guardianship and explore other alternatives and choices before taking steps to have one established. I can help you decide which answer—guardianship or another option—is the best. There are many alternatives that may prevent guardianship from being necessary.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed laws to establish a supported decision-making agreement as an informal alternative to guardianship. Through this agreement, people with disabilities can make their own decisions and remain in charge of their lives. This is done with the support of people who agree to provide on-going assistance to the person. The supporter does not make decisions for the person but provides support and assistance by making sure the wishes of the person with disabilities are known and carried out. Anyone who wants to establish a supported decision-making agreement should choose people they trust to help them make life decisions and determine what type of decisions they want help with and be sure the supporter knows what they will be asked to do.
Although this agreement does not have to be completed by an attorney, the assistance of an attorney is beneficial to ensure each party enters the agreement with complete knowledge of their respective duties and responsibilities.
Please contact The Law Offices of Namrita Notani to discuss if Guardianship is the best option for your loved one.