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Elder law and key aspects of guardianship in Texas

| Dec 8, 2020 | Elder Law

Texans who have an elderly loved one who needs oversight and protection will often be unsure of their available options. Making sure that the person is cared for appropriately and shielded may require legal steps. One that is often beneficial is a guardianship. With a guardianship, the person who needs assistance – a ward – will be under the legal protection of a guardian. There are fundamental factors that should be addressed with a guardianship.

What a guardian can and cannot do under the law

It is imperative to understand the scope of the responsibilities and to be prepared to live up to them. The guardianship might be due to disabilities, age-related challenges or illness. The guardian will be given legal requirements by the court and they must be followed. These can vary based on the level of care and help the person needs. For example, the guardian might be asked to pay the person’s bills; decide how to maximize and maintain the person’s assets; ensure the medical care and requirements for daily living are met; provide reports to the court regarding finances on an annual basis; and understand the need to request permission from the court for certain actions.

There are certain things that a guardian is not allowed to do under the law. These may preclude a person from deciding to become a guardian. If the ward makes a decision that the guardian believes is detrimental, the guardian cannot stop them from doing it. If the decision is completed, then the guardian will not be responsible for it. This is true even if the action taken by the ward is illegal. The guardian will not be financially obligated to pay the ward’s debts. Medication cannot be forced upon the ward. The guardian is not responsible for 24/7 monitoring of the ward. Finally, the guardian does not have the right to admit the ward into a mental health facility.

Guardianships and elder care planning requires legal advice

Guardianships can be a complicated endeavor. People who are considering one should be cognizant of the limitations and responsibilities before agreeing to it. There may also be preferable alternatives available. When seeking to protect an elderly loved one with a guardianship or through another strategy, consulting with an experienced legal firm that understands elder law can provide guidance and advice on how to proceed to make certain the loved one is protected.