Guardianship is the legal authority to manage the personal care and/or financial affairs of another person. Guardianship proceedings can be avoided through powers of attorney and other basic estate planning. However, if your spouse, parent, grandparent or adult child did not have a power of attorney, there may be no choice but to petition the court for appointment as legal guardian.
At Kennedy & Jackson, our lawyers provide counsel and representation for guardianship proceedings in Greater Houston and Harris County, Texas. Both Thomas Kennedy and David Jackson are board-certified specialists in both probate law and estate planning.
- People seeking guardianship of an incapacitated parent or relative
- Grandparents and other family members who may need to obtain guardianship of a minor
- Parents seeking guardianship of an adult disabled child
When guardianship is contested, our lawyers may represent the person seeking guardianship as well as those who are opposed to the appointment.
EXPERIENCED GUARDIANSHIP ATTORNEYS IN HARRIS COUNTY
Guardianship requires a finding by the court that the ward (the person who needs a guardian) is mentally incompetent or physically incapacitated and cannot manage his or her own affairs. Our attorneys work to expedite guardianship proceedings when it is critical to intervene to protect a loved one from physical or financial harm.
Guardianship is actually two separately appointed powers, commonly assigned to one guardian but sometimes split between two individuals:
- Guardianship over the person — Authority for health care decisions and personal care, including medical treatment, nursing home care, daily activities, travel, etc.
- Guardianship over property — Authority for bank accounts, investments, transactions, and certain business and legal matters. This is sometimes called conservatorship.
The court determines how far-reaching the guardianship will be. In general, the guardian must obtain court approval for major decisions or expenditures and keep the court apprised of all actions.
The determination of incompetence involves examination by physicians, psychiatrists, neurologists, social workers or other professionals, along with testimony of family members and input from the person in question.
ALTERNATIVES TO GUARDIANSHIP
Guardianship is best avoided. The process is very expensive and time-intensive. In Texas, you would have to hire two attorneys: one to represent the guardian and one to represent the incapacitated person. You would also have to hire a doctor to prove, in a public court, that the ward does not know what he or she is doing. This can be a humiliating process for the family.
Guardianship hearings can be emotionally charged and divisive if the family members do not agree on whether guardianship is needed or who should be guardian. As a public proceeding, it can divulge private family matters such as a loved one’s dementia, mental illness or disabling condition.
Guardianship proceedings can be avoided through powers of attorney and other basic estate planning. By designating an attorney-in-fact in advance, the person’s wishes are honored, the family peace is preserved and important decisions are not left to a judge. However, if your spouse, parent, grandparent or adult child did not have a power of attorney, there may be no choice but to petition the court for appointment as legal guardian.
CONTACT A GUARDIANSHIP ATTORNEY IN HOUSTON
Our law office is located in the Galleria area of Houston, with free on-site parking available next to our office building. We provide a complimentary and confidential consultation to all new potential clients. To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call 713-783-7444 or send us an email.