| Read Time: 3 minutes | Probate

Probate guardianship addresses the responsibilities and authority granted to a guardian to make decisions regarding healthcare, finances, and general welfare for an individual under their care. It’s distinct from other estate planning tools and requires adhering to legal procedures to appropriately establish and manage guardianship arrangements.

Probate guardianship is crucial in ensuring the well-being and protection of individuals who cannot decide for themselves. By gaining insights into probate guardianship, individuals can make informed decisions and provide the proper care and protection of vulnerable loved ones. Navigating probate guardianship can be complex, but individuals can confidently manage this process with the right understanding and legal support.

What Is Probate Guardianship?

Probate guardianship is a legal arrangement in which the court appoints a guardian to make decisions on behalf of an individual who cannot act independently. These individuals could include minors, people with disabilities, or incapacitated adults. The guardian holds authority over specific aspects of the individual’s life, such as healthcare, finances, and general welfare.

What Are the Differences Between Probate Guardianship and Other Types of Guardianship?

One key distinction of probate guardianship in Texas is that it typically applies within the context of the probate process, unlike other types of guardianship established outside of probate. In Texas, probate guardianship is often initiated as part of the probate proceedings, particularly when it involves guardianship over an estate or assets. This type of guardianship focuses on managing the assets and financial affairs of the ward rather than solely on personal care.

A court appoints probate guardians who are mandated to provide regular accounting and updates about the estate to the court. This is a significant departure from other types of guardianships in Texas, such as those set up for minors or adults with disabilities, where the primary concern might be more on the individual’s day-to-day well-being. Additionally, probate guardianship involves more stringent oversight and regulatory compliance than other guardianship forms. This integration within the state’s judicial system’s probate division ensures a higher degree of transparency and accountability aimed at protecting the interests of the ward and their estate.

Responsibilities of Probate Guardians

Under Texas law, a probate guardian is responsible for safeguarding the ward’s well-being and assets. Once appointed, guardians must manage the ward’s financial affairs prudently. The management includes paying bills, managing investments, and making budgetary decisions that reflect the ward’s best interests and financial capabilities. Guardians are also responsible for ensuring the ward receives appropriate medical care, housing, and personal care, which may involve choosing health care providers, securing living arrangements, and overseeing daily needs.

Guardians must maintain meticulous records of all decisions and transactions related to the ward’s care and finances. They must file annual reports with the court detailing the ward’s financial status and personal well-being. These reports help the court monitor the guardian’s management and ensure compliance with statutory obligations.

The guardian also needs to seek court approval for certain decisions, such as selling significant assets, terminating the guardianship, or making other major changes affecting the ward’s life or property. Failure to comply with these responsibilities can lead to legal consequences, including removal from the guardianship role.

Because these duties are complex and ongoing, guardians often benefit from legal counsel to navigate the requirements, ensure all actions meet legal standards, and effectively protect the ward’s interests.

How to Begin Probate Guardianship in Texas 

To start probate guardianship proceedings in Texas, begin by applying for guardianship with the probate court in the county where the ward lives. This application must clearly state why the individual is incapacitated and unable to manage their care or finances. It’s crucial to include detailed documentation of the individual’s condition, such as medical evaluations and expert assessments.

Texas law requires you to notify all immediate family members and other interested parties about the guardianship application after filing. This ensures that all potential stakeholders have the opportunity to participate or contest the process. The court will then set a date for a hearing to present evidence of the proposed ward’s incapacity and hear any objections.

During the hearing, the court evaluates the evidence and determines whether guardianship is necessary and who should serve as the guardian. If the court appoints a guardian, it will issue an order outlining its powers and responsibilities. The newly appointed guardian must then complete an orientation course and regularly report to the court about the ward’s well-being and financial status, adhering to strict oversight and compliance requirements.

These steps help to protect the rights and well-being of the individual in need of care and ensure that the guardianship process is transparent.

Get Answers to Your Questions from an Experienced Texas Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer 

Probate guardianship details and nuances can be complex, so having a dedicated Texas probate lawyer’s assistance is essential. At Robbins Estate Law, our guardianship and probate lawyers team has decades of combined experience helping individuals and families make informed decisions that will impact their futures. We also offer free consultations, during which we will answer your questions and explain how we can help you create a plan that will serve you for years. Call Robbins Estate Law or complete our online contact form today to learn more.

Author Photo

Kyle Robbins

Kyle Robbins is the founder and sole owner of The Law
Offices of Kyle Robbins. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law and his B.S. in Food Chemistry and Microbiology from Oklahoma State University.

Rate this Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars