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By Heather Jamieson

The process of accepting the fact that your loved one needs to have a Guardian appointed by the Courts is a stressful one. Once the choice is made to proceed with filing a Guardianship in the Texas Courts, what information is required to start the process?

Typically in the Texas Courts you must provide your attorney with information pertaining to the proposed ward and the incapacity issues that led you to want to file with the Courts. The Courts request that you provide them with as much personal information to evaluate the Proposed Ward such as inability to care for themselves, danger to physical health or safety to themselves and others, or if they are in immediate danger.  The Courts usually recommend contacting the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services if there is not immediate danger to the Proposed Ward so that the Proposed Ward can have a case manager assigned to them during the process.

The Courts usually consider whether or not the proposed ward is able to provide food, clothing or even shelter for themselves. The Courts consider whether or not they can care for their own physical health, financial affairs and often require the Applicant/Guardian to provide information about the Proposed Ward’s property. The property includes real property, cash, bank accounts, Certificate of Deposits, Stocks, Securities, automobiles, personal effects and other investments.

The Courts require a Certified Medical Exam to be completed within a reasonable amount of time of filing the Application for Guardianship. This Exam is completed by a primary care physician and is able to medically determine what the Proposed Ward is capable of as well as evidences what the Proposed Wards mental capacity is currently. The Courts also require that a Background Check be completed upon any person requesting to be appointed as Guardian over Person, Estate or both. This clearly is to insure the safety and well-being of the Proposed Ward.

The Courts purpose of assessing the Proposed Wards assets is so that the Courts can determine a reasonable bond to be posted by the Guardian to ensure the safety of the Proposed Ward’s assets. Once the Courts appoint the Guardian, they are held financially and legally responsible for the Person and Estate of the Proposed Ward. In the event of any misappropriations of funds or lack of personal care to the Proposed Ward, the Guardian can be held legally liable and face legal recourse for inappropriate behaviors.

The Courts prefer that you obtain an Attorney to assist with filing a Guardianship due to the complexity of issues that are handled within a Guardianship.  With the information provided herein at least you have information to gather what is needed to file a Guardianship in the State of Texas.