The Texas legislature has enacted some new requirements that impact every guardianship filed in Texas. As Dallas-based guardianship attorneys often working in the area of guardianship disputes, we felt a timely blog post could explore these issues. If you are facing a potential guardianship dispute under Texas law, reach out to our law firm with convenient locations in both Dallas and Plano, Texas.
Posted: April 2, 2016
Alternatives to Guardianship
The Texas legislature enacted some new requirements that affect every guardianship case filed in Texas. One of those new requirements includes exploring options besides guardianship. The goal behind exploring the alternatives to guardianship is to allow the person who needs help (called a “ward”) to get some help but to maintain as much independence and freedom from court supervision as possible.
Some of the alternatives to guardianship involve legal documents that the ward signed. The ward must have signed those documents at a time when the ward understood the document. If the ward has Alzheimer’s disease, for example, and cannot understand a power of attorney but signs it anyway, that power of attorney is not valid and is not usable as an alternative to guardianship. Valid medical and statutory durable powers of attorney, however, can be used to defeat a guardianship action.
Other alternatives include:
• Convenience or joint bank accounts set up while the ward had the ability to understand the account agreement;
• Appointment of a representative payee to manage government benefits;
• Creation (by a court if necessary) of a trust set up to manage the ward’s assets, including a special needs trust.
Every person who files an application asking a court to appoint a guardian in Texas now must certify to the court that all alternatives to guardianship have been explored. Before appointing a guardian, the court must be satisfied that guardianship is the only option that will protect the ward.
The preceding was a short discussion of recent changes under Texas law to guardianship, namely that other options must be considered. In addition, guardianship disputes can occur, especially when consent is given under less-than-ideal circumstances. If you are facing a guardianship dispute, anywhere in Dallas or nearby cities such as Plano, Frisco, Fort Worth, etc., please reach out for an initial phone consultation with a guardianship dispute attorney in our Dallas office, Plano, Texas, office or over the phone.