Guardianship of a Disabled Person in Texas Law
Guardianship is a legal order decreed by a court that places the well-being of a person, including their property and finances, into the hands of another person, association or corporation. Guardianship is often referred to in legal terms as conservatorship.
A person may request to be a guardian or a court may appoint a guardian if it deems that a person is no longer capable of caring for themselves because of some sort of disability. When considering an appointment for guardianship of an incapacitated person a court must consider what is in the ward's best interest.
There are different types of guardianships each with a different level of responsibility dictated by the court order.
A guardian of the estate manages property and financial assets looking out for the person's best interests.
An interim guardian is one that is temporarily assigned after another guardian is removed or resigns.
An emergency guardian is one that is appointed without a formal hearing when an emergency exists and a guardian is necessary to prevent injury to the person or their estate.
There are many reasons why a guardianship of an incapacitated person may be necessary. One of the most important is consent for medical treatment. By law when a person reaches 18 they normally inherit the right for their own medical consent. However many adults or children with disabilities may need services for treatment that they are not able to fully understand or evaluate on their own.
A person with certain disabilities may also be unable to manage their financial affairs without being at risk from predators or from the inability to understand or evaluate the risks on their own.
A guardian is not allowed to benefit at the expense of the ward. A court may require that a guardian periodically provide an accounting of the status of the guardianship. The exact rules regarding accounting of expenses and so on varies from court to court.
Certain people may be statutorily ineligible to be appointed as a guardian, including minors, people whose conduct is notoriously inappropriate, a person who are themselves incapacitated, a person who is a party to a lawsuit concerning the welfare of the ward, a person indebted to the ward, or a person asserting a claim adverse to the ward's property or estate.
A court will not likely appoint a person who has been convicted of any sexual offense including sexual assault, aggravated assault, injury to a child or elderly or disabled individual, or anyone guilty of abandoning or endangering a child.
John Q. Lawyer
Attorney at Law
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