When is a Guardianship an Emergency?

It happens more often than we like to imagine – your mom and dad are not able to make decisions for themselves, and a stranger befriends them and starts becoming increasingly involved in your parents’ lives, eventually gaining access to their home and bank accounts. Or sometimes an elderly neighbor unable to care for herself has no family and wanders outside constantly, needing someone to make emergency decisions for her health and safety.

In emergency situations like those above, Texas law allows for the creation of what is called a “temporary guardianship.” When a person’s health, safety, or property is in immediate danger, a court can appoint someone on a temporary basis who can protect that individual and/or the property in danger.

Temporary guardianships differ from traditional, “permanent” guardianships because they can be granted with less evidence than is needed for a permanent guardianship. Of course, in a temporary guardianship, the powers of the guardian are typically limited to those necessary to protect the person in danger; whereas a permanent guardian usually has significantly expanded powers over the individual’s person and property.

Temporary guardianships often are transitioned into permanent guardianships, depending on the needs of the individual involved. A temporary guardianship can be a helpful proceeding to protect someone in immediate danger.