Reasons to set up a guardianship

There are countless important decisions that parents must make in the course of raising their children to adulthood. One of the most critical, however, is providing the best options for their care if something should happen to mom and dad. Choosing someone to look after them physically until they grow up and having that person or couple willingly agree to do so can give parents immeasurable reassurance. Naming the choice in a last will and testament may reenforce the chance that those wishes will be honored.

Financial considerations shouldn’t be discounted. Minor children need someone to manage money for their care and see to it that their inheritance, of whatever nature, is protected until they are old enough to manage their own finances and property.

Some people are born with limited mental capacity for a myriad of reasons. Reaching adulthood might not make a difference in their abilities. Others may suffer injury or illness that leaves them without the wherewithal to care for themselves as adults. A court may authorize an individual to act as a guardian. The guardian will provide the necessary physical assistance and financial management needed to care for the person.

These instances are some of the reasons to set up a guardianship. Texas law defines an incapacitated person as one who is mentally, physically or legally incompetent, and includes minor children. They may be judged so by a court based on incompetence, having an unsound mind or being a habitual drunkard. County court jurisdiction applies to petitions for guardianship, including appointing the guardians of minor children according to estates.

In certain circumstances, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of a minor child or other incapacitated person during guardianship proceedings. For example, if a guardianship wasn’t specified in a will, and multiple individuals have stepped forward to assume the role, a guardian ad litem will safeguard the incapacitated person’s well-being as decisions are contemplated.

Source: FindLaw – Texas Statutes, “Chapter XIII: Guardianship,” accessed April. 09, 2015