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Protecting your loved ones through guardianships

Your Texas family may find that it is necessary to establish certain protections for the benefit of a loved one. Guardianship is a tool that you may be able to use to care for a loved one and ensure the full protection of his or her best interests. You cannot simply decide to be the guardian of a loved one or make verbal agreements, but you could take legal steps to have the necessary protections in place.

Guardianships are for individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Whether your loved one has a mental condition or is physically unable to care for themselves, it may be useful to explore what your family needs to do to ensure protection, quality care and security. 

What are the duties of a guardian? 

A guardian is a person who will step in and act on behalf of a person who is currently unable to act and make decisions for themselves in both important and everyday matters. Legal documents filed by the family will name a guardian, but in some cases, the court may name a guardian. This individual will bear the following responsibilities:

  • Making medical decisions or giving medical consent
  • Making decisions regarding housing
  • Making arrangements regarding the purchase of necessities, such as groceries
  • Making decisions for education
  • Managing money and bank accounts
  • Making money-related decisions

The decisions that you may have to make as a legal guardian will vary depending on the individual needs of the ward. If appointed to this important role, your job and duty will be to make decisions that are in the best interests of the ward.

Why should be a guardian?

The role and obligations of a guardian are not ones to take lightly. Significant thought and consideration should go into the decision regarding who should act as your loved one's guardian. Most often, the court will prefer one of the following individuals as a guardian:

  • Spouse
  • Parent or other relative
  • Person chosen by the ward
  • State employee
  • Person familiar with the ward and with his or her degree of incapacity

Obviously, children benefit from a person acting as guardian on his or her behalf when the biological parents are unable to do so for whatever reason. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to name a guardian for an adult who is mentally or physically unable to care for themselves some or most of the time.

Naming a guardian is not an easy process for a family. Making this decision can be emotional and stressful, but many times, families find great benefit in seeking guidance when making decisions that will have a significant impact on the future care of a loved one. 

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