Guardianship

Compassionate Advocacy for Caregivers and Supporters.

When a loved one becomes disabled, it’s natural for family members and friends to step in and help. Do you understand the legal obligations underpinning the caregiver and supporter roles?

Without formal court orders or Pre-Need Estate Planning documents in place, a caregiver could experience difficulty with other people honoring the responsible choices they make for their disabled loved ones.

Caregivers without any legal authority could find themselves the subject of complaints to the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services by banks and other financial institutions who have a legal duty to report any perceived financial exploitation.

Worse, family members of the disabled person may eventually disagree or fight over the caregiving and financial decisions being made for the disabled person.

Pre-Need Estate Planning includes making documents such as a medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney to appoint a legal “agent” to act on your behalf to make financial and healthcare decisions in the event you are disabled.

Informal caregiving relationships can be formalized in one of two ways:
1. Pre-Need Estate Planning, or
2. Guardianship

But what if the disabled person already has dementia or an intellectual disability? Guardianship may be necessary when the disabled person lacks the legally-required mental ability to create a power of attorney document. In this case, a Guardianship will formalize the caregiving role while empowering the caregiver to make financial and healthcare decisions for their disabled loved one.

Our experienced and knowledgeable guardianship counsel understand the challenges presented by these issues as well as the underlying medical conditions that necessitate a guardianship.

Our firm’s guardianship counsel regularly appear before our North Texas probate courts representing both applicants for guardianship and disabled individuals under a guardianship proceeding and know what it takes to obtain a guardianship.

Don’t become the villain in someone else’s narrative of your caregiving role! Call our office today for a guardianship counseling meeting. We provide personalized legal advice on whether guardianship is the right option for you.

Guardianship for Minor Children

We also use the guardianship process when a minor child’s parent dies. Caregivers must be able to immediately step in and assume not only the responsibilities of raising an orphaned child, but also collecting the child’s inheritance. A guardianship proceeding formalizes the caregiver’s role by giving them the legal right to make decisions concerning an orphaned child, just as a parent would. Guardianship also provides several methods for collecting a child’s inheritance to help pay for the costs of raising the child.

Guardianship is a different legal proceeding than a conservatorship. Guardianship provides a process for a caregiver to have the right to collect a child’s inherited assets and use those funds to help pay for the caregiving, whereas a conservatorship does not. These rights are especially important for caregivers when a parent names their child as a direct beneficiary of life insurance policies, retirement benefits, and other financial accounts.

Probate courts have original jurisdiction over probate proceedings involving the deceased parent’s estate and guardianship matters involving orphaned minor children. Going through the probate court to establish these caregiving roles may better protect the minor children’s interest. Our firm assists with the filing of all proceedings necessary to probate the estate of the deceased parent while also helping the caregiver to become the legal guardian of an orphaned child.

If you have questions about guardianship, check out our informative video below!

Learn About the Basics of Guardianship.

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