What is Legal Guardianship?

If you have elderly parents or children, understanding legal guardianship is important. Here’s an overview of legal guardianship.
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Staff Writer, @DooleyNotedLaw

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Guardianship is a legal process where you appoint a person to care for another you or your child. This process can be daunting. That’s why it’s essential to understand what it means. This blog post will provide an overview of legal guardianship and rights as a legal guardian. If you have questions about guardianship or need legal assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our Estate Planning Lawyer in Texas.

Legal Guardianship Defined

Guardianship is when someone assigns another person (a guardian) to make decisions for them (a ward). These decisions can be about money, personal things, or medical things. Therefore, when someone becomes a guardian, they take over the ward’s rights.

The need for assigning a guardian can be due to someone’s age, disability, or injury. For example, if you have children, you may want to appoint a guardian for them if something happens to you.

It is essential to choose a guardian for your children or yourself before an unexpected event happens. Additionally, the person you choose should be someone who will make the decisions that align with your wishes. If you don’t choose a guardian, the court will decide for you, and it may not be the person you would have chosen.

Guardianship of an Estate

When you choose a guardian for your estate, you give that person control over your property and finances. Ultimately, the guardian should handle your assets according to your best interests. Additionally, they must preserve and protect your assets. This can include appraising a property, budgeting, and distributing income when necessary. They are also responsible for managing any stocks or mutual funds you may own. The guardian must regularly report to the courts on the status of your estate. Further, they will need to show how they spend money to cover expenses.

When it comes to your estate, you want to make sure that the person you choose is someone who will make the decisions that most align with your preferences. If you are unsure of who that would be, seek help from an estate planning lawyer in Texas to discuss your options.

Guardianship of a Person

Another type of guardianship is when a guardian controls the ward’s personal matters. These matters include making decisions about housing, medical care, and education.

You can choose one person to be the guardian over both the estate and the person. However, if you choose two separate people, they will need to work closely together.

Let’s say you would like to choose a guardian for your child. You would want to find someone you trust to make decisions in your child’s best interest. The guardian will need to provide for your child’s needs, including housing, food, medical care, and education. Moreover, you may want to appoint a successor guardian. A successor is someone who would take over if the original guardian cannot or does not want to take care of your child.

Another thing you might want to do is choose a guardian for yourself. This guardian is someone who can make decisions for you if something happens to you and you can’t make them yourself. For example, if you become incapacitated, your guardian could care for your health and general well-being.

Guardianship of an Elderly Person

If you or someone you know is elderly, legal guardianship may be necessary. The guardian should ensure the older person receives all their necessities. Additionally, they will make decisions on their behalf. Elderly guardianship can protect seniors from financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. However, it should be the last resort. 

There are other options that you should consider first.

  • Power of Attorney: A power of attorney allows one person to act on behalf of another. This person is beneficial if the other person is mentally incapacitated and cannot make decisions for themselves. 
  • Social Security: The Social Security Administration, or SSA, allows a person’s benefits to be sent to someone else if the person cannot manage their money.
  • Public Benefits: A family member can be the authorized representative for an incapacitated person to get food stamps, TANF, and Medicaid.
  • Emergencies: If a person cannot communicate, a family member can make decisions for that person.

Why do you need an Estate Plan?

It would be best to have an estate plan because it allows you to choose what happens to your assets and your family after you die. It’s imperative if you have minor children, a disability, or many assets.

One of the most important things you can do in your Estate Plan is choose a guardian for your children. If something happens to you and you haven’t selected a guardian, the state will take custody of your children. Basically, this means you won’t get to choose who takes care of them. Therefore, it’s crucial to think about this and make a decision.

You may want to talk to an Estate Planning lawyer to make a plan that meets your needs and makes you feel more at peace. If you have any questions about Estate Planning, our office would be happy to help you create the right plan for your unique situation.

Why hire an Estate Planning Lawyer in Texas?

Dooley Noted Law can help you with your legal needs, including Estate Planning. We have experience creating comprehensive Estate Plans that meet our clients’ unique needs and give them peace of mind.

If you want to learn more about legal guardianship or Estate Planning, please schedule a free consultation today.

The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

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