Some states have conservatorships but in Texas, we have guardianships. The purpose of a guardian is to act on behalf of a person who is either a minor or who is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. The minor or incapacitated person is considered the ward, and the guardian for the ward is appointed by the court to care for him or her and related property.
A person is appointed as either a guardian of a person, or he or she may be appointed as a guardian of the estate of the person. It is possible that the court could appoint one person as both, or separate individuals could be appointed for each. In either case, the appointed guardian is required to post a bond in whatever amount the court sets to ensure the duties as a fiduciary are fulfilled.
A guardian of a person is usually responsible for the total care and protection of his or her ward, unless the court has defined restrictions. The guardian has the authority to consent to medical treatment as well as psychiatric treatment for the ward. The guardian is also responsible for the ward’s shelter, food and clothing as well as other needs.
A guardian of the estate for a minor or incapacitated person is responsible for the financial assets of the ward. The guardian must file inventory reports of all assets. In addition, the guardian must also file yearly statements of assets, finances and expenditures.
Per Texas laws, guardianship for an individual is appointed based on a priority list. For instance, if a minor is in need of a guardian, his or her parents would be the first choice, a person designated by the ward’s last surviving parent would be the second choice, then direct relatives and on down the line. The court also has the right to use discrimination and pass over those who they believe are ineligible, inexperienced or incapable.
Guardianships come with an enormous responsibility and can be very complicated. Legal assistance is required for the implementation of most guardianships.
Source: Texas Probate Web Site, “Frequently Asked Questions About Guardianship” Sep. 04, 2014