Services for People in Arlington, Crowley and the Fort Worth Metro Area
A guardian is defined as a court-appointed person who has been given legal authority to make personal decisions for another individual, referred to as the "ward" who has been determined by the courts to be incapable of acting on his/her own behalf, being either of minor age or lacking the mental or emotional capacity.
Guardianship of the Person
A guardianship of the person gives the court appointee the right to make personal decisions on behalf of another individual. The decisions can be about housing and medical care, for example. The guardian will be responsible to determine the level of medical treatment provided by doctors and other medical professionals, which will include medical treatment provided at the end of the ward's life, in the event a living will is not in place.
Managing a guardianship of the person is not overwhelming. An annual report needs to be filed with the court, but as long as the guardian faithfully executes his or her duties, there is not a lot of court interaction.
Guardianship Over an Estate
In order to make decisions regarding the ward's financial accounts, it will be necessary to be appointed as guardian of the estate.
A guardianship of the estate is much more difficult. Motions have to be filed in court for any significant transactions (there will be an allowance that will not require further court action), and an annual report must be filed that details every expenditure, expense and receipt of the estate. It is sometimes very difficult to get these to balance. While we frequently recommend that our clients can handle the guardianship of the person by themselves, it is difficult to handle a guardianship of the estate without the services of an attorney.
What Is Required to Obtain Guardianship?
In order to obtain a guardianship over a person or an estate, the proposed ward must be served with the court papers. In addition, the court will appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the ward. If the ward tells the attorney ad litem that he or she wants something that the attorney ad litem believes is not in his or her best interest, then the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. In court the attorney ad litem will argue whatever it is that the proposed ward wants, and the guardian ad litem will argue whatever he or she believes is in the proposed ward's best interest. In addition to these people, the court can also appoint temporary guardians. In all, it can get very expensive very quickly. It is not unusual to have at least three appointed attorneys working in a case in addition to the attorneys hired by the applicant for the guardianship. If the proposed ward has a sufficient estate, then all of these costs will come from the estate of the ward.
The guardian, whether of the person or the estate, is referred to as a "fiduciary." That simply means that he or she has a higher standard of duty to the ward than he or she would to a normal person. In fact, the guardian is required to put the interests of the ward ahead of his or her own interests. Although there are many duties a guardian owes to a ward, most of them can be summarized by saying that the guardian owes a duty of full disclosure and of putting the ward's interests ahead of his or her own interests.
Our service area includes communities throughout the following North Texas counties:
Tarrant County · Denton County · Parker County · Hood County · Ellis County · Johnson County · Wise County
If you are seeking to obtain guardianship of an individual or estate in Tarrant County, Denton County, Parker County, Hood County, Ellis County and Johnson County, Texas, talk to a member of the probate law team at the Bob Leonard Law Group, P.L.L.C., in Fort Worth. Call us at 817-336-8500 or contact us by e-mail to arrange a consultation with an experienced Fort Worth guardianship attorney today.