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Can I Designate a Guardian for Myself or My Children in Texas?

In Texas, you can designate a guardian for yourself and your children. As an adult, you can assign a guardian in case you become incapacitated. Likewise, you can name a guardian for your children in the event that you pass away. Therefore, when it comes to children, a guardian is someone who is going to take care of them after the parents are deceased. A guardian, for an adult, is someone who is going to take care of that adult while they are alive, but incapacitated.

Are There Any Alternatives to Choosing a Guardian?

If the individual is a minor, there are no alternatives to choosing a guardian. If the individual is an adult, and if he or she is competent before the need for a guardianship, then they can sign a power of attorney. To prevent guardianships, put a statutory durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney in place. It is very inexpensive to put these documents in place, and definitely a lot less expensive than going through the guardianship process. The other alternative, when a disabled adult is involved, is a supported decision-making agreement that can be signed and executed. This is a relatively new law in Texas and many other states.

A supported decision-making agreement is a document that allows a person who is the supporter to help gather information about whatever is needed. It could be in relation to medical, educational, and/or financial information. The agreement allots a person to gather information, but the person who signed it still gets to make the decisions. This agreement came about from advocates who state that these adults with disabilities can make some of their own decisions, and they should be able to make their own decisions while getting help with obtaining the information.

What Is the Process for Having a Permanent Guardian Appointed?

The process for having a permanent guardian appointed for a disabled adult begins with getting a certificate of mental examination from a doctor or physician. This document determines the level of incapacity. Once it is determined that the individual is incapacitated, we file the application to appoint a guardian in probate court. We also ask the court to appoint an attorney ad litem. Any time the court is asked to remove an adult’s abilities to make decisions, they are entitled to counsel and the ward will have an attorney to represent them. A court investigator and the ad litem will visit the proposed ward, and notifications will go out to the ward’s parents and adult siblings.

From there, once all the information is gathered, they schedule a court hearing to prove up the guardianship. Most of the time, after the court hearing, a small cash bond will need to be paid. If you are named guardian of the estate, you will have to be bonded. Additionally, you also need to have good credit to be the guardian of the estate. The lower your credit score, the less probability you will have to become guardian of the estate. The bond also costs a lot more with a lower credit score.

If you become the guardian for a ward, you will have to file an annual report informing the court on personal information about the ward every year. If you are the guardian of the estate, you have to file an annual accounting.

How Long Does a Guardianship Generally Take?

The amount of time that it takes to get a guardianship appointed depends on the courts and attorney ad litem that is appointed. It can be done in as little as 30 days, depending on notices to the involved parties. However, it usually takes two to three months.

For more information on designating a guardian for you or your children, an initial consultation is your next best step. Contact our experienced guardianship attorneys by calling us at (281) 885-8826 today!

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