Guardianship Laws in North Texas
Serving Denton & Surrounding Areas
When loved ones are no longer able to care for themselves due to disease, developmental disabilities or injury, guardianship grants an individual legal authority to manage and provide for their affairs. Sensitive and cognizant of the emotional distress of those needing to seek guardianship, The Chenault Law Firm recognizes that this intensive responsibility can be complicated by conflicting emotions and a convoluted judicial process.
What is Guardianship?
Guardianship empowers a court-appointed individual or entity known as the guardian to make decisions for an individual or ward who is found to be incapacitated. The ward can be an adult or a minor (under 18 years old). The court deems an individual incapacitated when they are unable to make informed decisions and cannot, among other things:
- Provide food, clothing or shelter for themselves,
- Care for their own physical health, or
- Manage their financial matters
Depending on the limitations of their ward, guardians are given differing levels of authority. While some wards require only guardianship for their persons, others require it for both their person and their estate. A guardian may decide medical treatment, living environment and other matters that safeguard their ward’s well-being. When an estate is involved, estate guardianship grants authority over an incapacitated person’s property and/or financial affairs.
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If an impaired individual is in immediate danger, the court may grant temporary guardianship without notice to the ward for up to sixty days. Likewise, the court may also initiate guardianship procedures if they deem a county resident appears to be incapacitated and is experiencing abuse, self-neglect or exploitation.
Implications of Guardianship
The implications of guardianship are many and deserve to be carefully considered. Guardianship removes many civil liberties that an American citizen enjoys. A ward loses the right to manage their affairs, choose where to live, consent and refuse medical treatment, and even the right to vote and drive. Because of the significance and gravity of these rights are so significant, the court requires considerable evidence and documentation to substantiate incapacitation.