The Guardianship Process
Denton, TX Family Law Attorney David S. Bouschor, II talks about the guardianship process.
Phone: (940) 323-1300
The process of getting a guardianship in Texas: first of all, we have two types of guardianships. We have a guardianship of the person and we have a guardianship of the estate, and both of them start off the same way: you have to file an application. There is medical information that needs to be gathered to be able to show that the person is mentally unable or physically unable to take care of their property, so that the guardianship is tailored to their needs. There is an ad litem appointed, and an ad litem is an attorney who is appointed for the ward or the proposed ward, and their job is to represent the ward and make sure the ward understands what’s happening, to the level that they can understand it. There is also, in the counties that have statutory probate courts, there’s going to be a court investigator that does an investigation, and there may be other people involved in the case. When all of those people have done their proper investigations, they’re going to come to a hearing, which is then set, where the applicant needs to prove up their case in front of a judge. The judge hears your case, the ad litem’s case, the court investigator’s report, and any other information that’s relevant. And then the court grants a guardianship in the areas that you’ve now proved a need for, and the applicant is appointed as a guardian. Now, appointing is first step. The next thing you need to do is get qualified. Qualified means you have to take an oath that is fairly easy. It says, “I swear to do a good job.” And you have to get bonded. And this isn’t like a bail bond. This is more like a trucker’s bond or whatever. But you are being bonded for certain property that you will have control of. And when that happens, you’re then given letters. Your letters are your one-page piece of paper that is your notice to the world that you are a guardian and have these powers. Those letters last one year. At the end of that year there’s a reporting requirement, both for the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate, that needs to be done so that you will get new letters for the next year, and on and on.