When an older adult in your family no longer has the capacity to care for himself or herself, or when an elderly loved one needs help managing his or her legal affairs, it may be time to consider a guardianship. As an article in Caring.com explains, “many older adults have long periods toward the end of life when they’re not able to make decisions for themselves—due o Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, a stroke, an accident, or some other serious medical condition.”
Adult guardianship in Dallas, Texas can be complicated, and it is extremely important to speak with an experienced Dallas guardianship lawyer if you have questions or concerns. In the meantime, we want to provide you with a list of five important things to know about adult guardianship.
Appointment of a Guardian Only Happens through a Court Process in Texas
Under Texas law, a guardian only can be appointed after a person has filed an application for appointment of a guardian. Under the Estates Code, “any person may commence a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian by filing a written application in a court.” There are a number of requirements for the application, including the way in which it must be created and the information that it must contain.
“Guardian” and “Ward” Are Legal Terms to Know
When talking about guardianship, including adult guardianship, in Dallas, it is important to understand the terms used under Texas law. The “guardian” is the person appointed to protect the adult, and the “ward” is the term for the person who needs protection.
Potential Guardians Can Be Disqualified for a Number of Different Reasons
If a family member wants to serve as a guardian, it is essential to know that there are many different reasons that a person can be disqualified as a potential guardian under Texas law. For example, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services explains that, if you have a particular type of criminal conviction on your record, that may be a reason that the court can disqualify you from potential guardianship. Even if you have a completely clean criminal record, if you owe money to the person for whom you are seeking to become guardian, the court can disqualify you from potential guardianship until you repay the debt owed.
Courts Can Place Limitations on a Guardian’s Authority
When a person is appointed as a guardian of an adult, that appointment does not mean that the guardian has unlimited authority over the ward. To be sure, it is in the court’s discretion to place limits on the authority that a guardian has over a ward.
Guardianship Does Not Mean That the Older Adult Loses All Rights to Make Decisions
When a guardian is appointed over a ward, and that ward is an elderly adult, it is important to know that the fact that there is a guardianship does not mean that the ward will lose the right to make any and all decisions for himself or herself. Like we said above, the court looks at each situation on a case-by-case basis and makes a determination based on a number of different factors.
Contact a Guardianship Attorney in Dallas, TX
Do you need assistance with an adult guardianship case? An experienced and compassionate Dallas guardianship lawyer can help. Contact the Law Offices of Brian Hill PLLC today for more information about the services we provide to families in Texas.