Guardianship is a special type of legal proceeding involving the appointment of a legal representative to handle a person’s affairs relating to her person and estate in the event she becomes incapacitated. A person becomes “incapacitated” under Texas guardianship law when she becomes substantially unable to handle the affairs relating to her person (food, clothing, shelter, medical decisions), or her estate (property, funds, investments, business dealings). The guardianship process involves the filing of an application accompanied by a special form of physician’s letter detailing the results of a mental status examination and stating whether the proposed ward meets the definition of an incapacitated person. Upon the filing of the application, the court appoints an attorney ad litem to represent the proposed ward. The proposed ward or other interested person may contest the guardianship or the appointment of a particular person as guardian. Upon his appointment as guardian, the guardian then handles the affairs relating to the person and/or estate of the ward on her behalf.
Many people seek to avoid guardianship because of the cost and because of the court control involved in the administration of a guardianship. Some appoint an agent under a medical power of attorney for medical decisions and a durable power of attorney for financial decisions. Some establish a trust which appoints a person to handle his affairs upon incapacity. However, there are instances where there are multiple powers of attorney or where there is some question as to whether the person has mental capacity to appoint an agent under power of attorney.
Gus G. Tamborello, P.C. can assist clients with:
- Representing parties in initiating and contesting applications for guardianship;
- Representing guardians in carrying out their duties;
- Serving as attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, temporary guardian, or permanent guardian in guardianship cases as appointed by the probate court judges;
- Representing clients in trials and appeals of cases relating to guardianships;
- Mediating disputes relating to guardianships;
- Bringing actions for breach of duty relating to mis-use of powers of attorney; and
- Drafting powers of attorney and designations of guardian.