Dallas-Fort Worth Adult Guardianship Attorneys
Serving Families & Individuals Throughout Texas
Adult guardianship hearings are taken very seriously in the eyes of the judicial system. Why? Because the end result is often the removal of autonomy from one adult and another adult being given the responsibility for all financial and medical decision for “the rest of time”. Often adult guardship occurs in times of permanent mental or physical disability in which the ward (the person in question) is not capable of making decisions for themselves.
There are two primary ways of accomplishing adult guardianship. The first is to reactively file an Application for Appointment of Permanent Guardian with the court. The second way is to proactively complete guardianship planning documents included in a comprehensive estate plan. Due to the all-encompassing nature of guardianship, the process for determining if an individual needs to have a person to represent them is detailed and lengthy.
Filing the Reactive Guardianship Application
When an individual (potential ward) can no longer care for themselves, their loved ones usually want to become primary decision-makers for the incapacitated individual’s health and financial matters. When no proactive guardianship plan is in place, the concerned party must apply for guardianship in the county in which the potential ward resides.
The applicant guardian must provide demographic information for themselves and the potential ward and must explain the “nature and degree” of suspected incapacity with the support of medical testimony. The Reactive Guardianship Application also asks the type of guardianship being sought, the value of the proposed ward’s estate, and much more.
Commencement of Court Investigation
If the court requests that an investigation be performed, it will appoint an investigator to determine whether the application is valid. The investigator will talk with the potential ward, doctors, psychologists, family members, social workers, and others familiar with the situation to determine if the application for guardianship is really necessary. If the investigators determine there is a valid need to appoint a guardian, the court will appoint an attorney and guardian ad litem to advocate for the best interests of the ward.
Commencement of Court Hearings & Disposition of the Case
There will be a court hearing to determine if the potential ward can adequately care for their physical and financial needs and to determine their best interests and whether the potential guardian is qualified to care for the potential ward. The disposition of the case involves defining parameters of guardianship, bonding the appointed guardian, and issuing the letters of guardianship.
You can plan ahead and work with a qualified attorney to craft comprehensive guardianship documents that name a person you trust to act as your guardian and in whatever capacity you decide should the need arise in the future. By clearly defining roles and communicating responsibilities before an emergency occurs, your guardian will have all of the necessary information to carry out your wishes in the event of incapacitation.
You made everything so convenient for me.- Carol E.
You (Shelly) and the staff at Crain & Wooley were so very easy to work with.- Dave K.
Finally got an estate plan after years of procrastination, mainly from fear…fear of the process. The fear disappeared as we had our initial meeting with Shelly.- Brad Lemon
We recommend them without qualification to others having requirements for trust, will and related document.- Gary Johnston
We would recommend Shelly Joyner as well as Crain & Wooley.- Brian Wenning