In Texas, the official state policy is to limit guardianships only to what is necessary to protect the well-being of an incapacitated or otherwise person. Prior to granting a guardianship, Texas courts must consider all other possible “less restrictive alternatives”. If another less restrictive alternative is available and is deemed to be appropriate, that option will be preferred. In this article, our Dallas guardianship attorney provides an overview of the least restrictive alternative standard in Texas.
Least Restrictive Alternative Standard: Explained
A guardianship is fundamentally a restrictive legal structure. Essentially, it results in the ‘ward’ — the person who is covered by the guardianship— losing their legal rights over their own affairs. Under Texas Law (Texas Estate Code § 1101.001), courts must consider whether any less restrictive alternatives may be sufficient to help provide protection to the vulnerable person. As explained by Dallas County, there are a number of different alternative options available that may be used instead of a guardianship. Some of the most notable examples include:
- Durable power of attorney;
- Medical power of attorney;
- A guardianship management trust;
- A specialized trust; and
- Many more.
For families in Texas, navigating the legal process surrounding guardianships can be complicated and confusing. If you are considering setting up a guardianship or any other protective legal structure for your vulnerable loved one, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced Dallas, TX guardianship lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to help you review every available option and take the appropriate steps.
How to Determine What is Best for a Vulnerable Person
It is not always easy to determine what is right for a vulnerable person. There are a number of different complex factors that must be considered. In some cases, setting up an adult guardianship is the best available option. However, in other cases, some of the other less restrictive alternatives may actually prove to be more effective. Texas officials have developed an official Guardianship Questionnaire that you and your family can use to make a basic assessment.
The questionnaire has been designed to help all of the parties put together all of the information that they need to make the best possible decision. The form asks questions on a wide range of topics — from whether the vulnerable person can eat and drink independently to how long the person can safely be left alone without oversight. Among other things, the questionnaire form is used to help parties assess if any other alternatives to guardianship would solve the ‘issue’, thereby avoiding the need to set up something as restrictive as a guardianship.
Speak to Our Texas Guardianship Lawyer Right Away
At the Law Offices of Brian Hill PLLC, our Dallas guardianship attorney is a compassionate and effective advocate for client. If you have questions or concerns about the least restrictive alternative standard, we are available to help. To set up a strictly confidential consultation, please contact our legal team today. From our in Dallas, we handle gardianship issues throughout the region, including in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County, and Collin County.
This blog is available for educational purposes only and to give general information. It is not to provide legal advice. By using this blog, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between the attorney and yourself. Each person’s situation differs, and therefore, for your personal situation, please seek professional legal advice. This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in Texas.