Protecting the Incapacitated
Some people need help managing their daily affairs because of their age, a disease or an injury. If this happens, a court of law may appoint a guardian for them.
Guardian and ward are legal terms used to indicate the relationship between someone who protects another (the guardian) and the person being protected (the ward). In Texas, the process to appoint a guardian includes:
- Filing an application with a court
- Having a hearing before a judge
- Having a judge appoint a guardian, if one is needed
Because having a guardian takes away a person’s rights, it should be the last and the best choice to protect someone. Before asking a court to appoint a guardian, other options are usually tried first, such as:
- Finding someone to help the person pay bills and manage money
- Finding someone to help the person make decisions, including health care decisions
- Enrolling the person in available community services, including Medicaid programs
Once a guardian is appointed, it often becomes permanent. However, if things change significantly, a judge can decide a guardian no longer is needed.
A Texas guide to adult guardianship, Protecting The Incapacitated, is found on texasbar.com.