The scope of a guardianship can vary under Texas law, but one fundamental remains: the ward who is under guardianship must be protected, and the guardian needs to be trusted. If there are potential problems, other interested parties should be aware of them and have help.
What if a proposed guardian is not suitable for the responsibilities?
It is important that a court scrutinizes a potential guardian to determine if they are qualified and capable of performing their duties. According to the law, there are several grounds for disqualification from being a guardian. Interested parties should know about these to ensure that the protected person will be cared for appropriately and to be aware of the steps to address their concerns.
Proposed guardians might not be capable due to incapacity or inexperience. Automatically, a minor or another incapacitated person is disqualified from being a guardian. They might also lack the experience, not have the education or there could be other viable justifications for them to be declared incapable of effective management and control over the ward’s estate. They might simply be declared unsuitable for the responsibility.
The ward’s potential guardian might not serve the best interests or could have notoriously bad conduct in their past. Convictions for violent crimes; abuse of children or the elderly; sexual offenses; child endangerment or abandonment; making terroristic threats; or committing continuous violence against the incapacitated person or the ward’s family would be sufficient to disqualify that person.
There might also be a conflict of interest. That could include being a party to a lawsuit that will impact the ward; being indebted to the ward; or making a claim that is not in the interests of the ward or the ward’s property.
Protection is the key to a guardianship
Guardianships can be complex. It is a significant responsibility and there is no shame in a person saying they are not up to the task. However, if interested parties – loved ones, friends, colleagues – are worried that the protected person is in jeopardy because of a guardian who is unable to perform the duties, they must know what they can do. Discussing the case with experienced professionals who understand estate planning, guardianships and the available options can be helpful.