San Antonio Guardianship Attorneys
Advocating for You & Your Ward
In Texas, establishing guardianship enables an individual to take care of a ward, representing and defending their legal rights.
Because guardianship cases impact the legal rights of a prospective ward, navigating them can be confusing. At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC, our San Antonio guardianship lawyer will help you work through your case and pursue an ideal outcome for you and a prospective ward.
How Does Guardianship Work in Texas?
In Texas, there are two types of guardians:
- Guardian of the person. A guardian of the person looks after a ward’s personal legal rights and affairs. This may mean living with a ward, ensuring they care for their health properly, attending medical appointments with them, deciding what education they receive, etc.
- Guardian of the estate. A guardian of the estate only manages a ward’s property and finances, not their personal legal rights. For example, they may handle investments or a ward or oversee their spending.
The deciding factor in the type of guardianship a ward receives is often whether they lack capacity or are disabled.
An individual who lacks capacity cannot make decisions that preserve their best interests. To establish that a ward lacks capacity, courts often require medical professionals to support that claim (assuming a prospective guardian claims that a ward doesn’t have capacity).
Alternatively, an individual with a disability may still possess their mental faculties and have full capacity. Under such circumstances, they may require a guardian to handle tasks their disability makes impossible, such as physical care or assistance with medical appointments.
How Do I Become a Guardian?
People typically become guardians in one of two ways:
- They’re named as a guardian in a legal document such as a will. This often occurs in situations where a parent dies after naming a friend or relative as a guardian in their will for any children they have.
- They file for guardianship status with the court. This often occurs because another person wants to establish guardianship for an incapacitated or disabled individual.
To pursue guardianship, you and your attorney need to file an application with the county court. At this stage, the court:
- Has a medical professional establish whether the prospective ward lacks capacity or possesses a disability;
- Appoints a guardian ad litem to represent the prospective ward in court;
- Notifies other individuals such as relatives who may have a stake in the case;
- Sets a date for a court hearing;
- Listens to evidence presented at the hearing and determines whether guardianship is necessary.
If a court does appoint you as a guardian, you must swear under oath to perform your guardianship responsibilities adequately. Every 16 months, you must acquire new Letters of Guardianship to maintain guardianship rights. At The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, our family law attorneys work with you to navigate your guardianship case and defend your rights in and out of the courtroom.