Houston Guardianship Lawyer
The issue of legal guardianship can arise in several different circumstances, such as when a grandparent or other close relative is seeking guardianship of a minor child or when an individual is appointed guardian of a deceased person’s child or estate. Guardianship also covers the care of people with disabilities and those who become incapacitated due to illness or age. Whatever the case may be, Texas courts are very strict in determining guardianships because of the many duties and decision-making power that come with being a guardian. To obtain the outcome you want in guardianship proceedings, a knowledgeable Houston guardianship lawyer is essential. At the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry in Houston, we have experience helping people obtain, dispute, and defend legal guardianships.
Texas Guardianship Law
In Texas, there are two different types of guardianship. A guardian of the person takes care of a minor or incapacitated person, and a guardian of the estate takes care of property. One guardian may serve both roles, or there may be a guardian of the person and guardian of the estate for one individual, depending on the unique circumstances of each case. To obtain guardianship of a minor, there must be a very compelling reason the parents are unfit (or the parents are deceased). For adult guardianship under Texas law, the person must have a physical or mental condition that prohibits or greatly restricts the ability to provide food, clothing, and shelter independently.
Generally, Texas courts take a top-down approach in granting guardianships, with designated persons and family members given preference before anyone else. For minors, appropriate guardianship is determined in the following order—parents, a person the last surviving parent designates for guardianship, the nearest ascendant of the child after the parents (usually grandparents or aunts and uncles), kin, and, finally, a non-relative the court finds will satisfy the requirements of guardianship. For an incapacitated person, the hierarchy starts with a person designated as guardian prior to the incapacity, spouse, next of kin, and then any non-relative.
The Guardianship Process in Texas
Texas guardianships start with an application for guardianship. Then, within 120 days, you must file a lengthy and highly detailed certificate that explains the circumstances of the guardianship request. For guardianships based on incapacity, you also must provide a doctor’s evaluation. After the guardianship certificate has been submitted, an attorney ad litem will be assigned to the case for the purpose of protecting the minor’s or incapacitated person’s rights and to establish specific rights under the guardianship. Once a guardianship is approved, Letters of Guardianship are issued, but they will expire in 16 months unless the guardian renews the letters. So, you can see, it is critical to be on-point and thorough from the start of guardianship proceedings and for the entire time you are a guardian. The guidance of an experienced Texas guardianship lawyer can help immensely.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Houston Guardianship Lawyer
If you have questions about legal guardianship in Texas, please contact the Law Office of Maria S. Lowry and ask to speak with a guardianship lawyer. We represent clients in guardianship proceedings throughout the greater Houston area, and we’re ready to help you.