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What is a Guardianship? (Texas)

Posted by attorney Isaac Shutt

A guardianship is a legal relationship between a “guardian" and a “ward". Texas guardianships are governed by the Texas Probate Code, Section 13. Follow this LINK to see the State’s guidelines for a Texas guardianship. Basically, guardianship is for situations in which you believe a family member (or close friend) is unable to take care of himself/herself. Once the probate court names you as someone’s guardian, you’ll have the legal authority to take care of that person.

In a guardianship, the guardian is a person who agrees to make decisions on behalf of a ward. Technically speaking there are two kinds of guardian — a “guardian of the estate" and a “guardian of the person". The guardian of the estate has the power and responsibility to make decisions regarding the ward’s finances. The guardian of the person makes decisions about the ward’s day-to-day living arrangements, health care, etc. Often, when people go to the probate court to start the guardianship process, they’ll ask the court to make them both guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.

Typically, a potential guardian will initiate the legal process to start a guardianship when an adult family member (like a parent) has been declared “incapacitated" by a doctor and/or court. Also, parents caring for a child with a mental disability may apply for a guardianship when the child reaches age 18 so that the parents can continue being guardians over the child after the child legally becomes an adult.

The first step to getting a guardianship in Texas is to contact a guardianship lawyer. In fact, the Texas Probate Courts will require you to have a guardianship attorney to go through the legal guardianship process. Secondly, a guardianship lawyer can help you explore less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. For example, depending on your situation, a power of attorney may be a better option than guardianship.

In a future post, I will discuss how you get a guardianship in Texas and describe the Texas guardianship process. For now, I’ll just say that getting a guardianship is a fairly involved legal process involving your law firm and probate court. That being said, if you’re thinking about getting a will, you might want to consider also having your estate planning lawyer provide you a document called a “Declaration of Guardianship in Advance of Need." This document allows you to name who you would like to be your future guardian in the event that you become incapacitated.

Isaac Shutt is the Attorney/Owner at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Visit or email You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this blog or to discuss a different legal matter. Phone-calls and quick e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you’re looking for a Richardson probate lawyer, Richardson wills lawyer, Richardson estate planning attorney, or Richardson guardianship lawyer.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog post constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney. Further, nothing in this blog shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until you sign an engagement letter with the Firm.

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