Guardianship may be necessary when aging adults lose their physical and mental capabilities and are unable to handle important aspects of their life, such as the ability to take care of themselves or make rational decisions. Fortunately, if the elderly adult is your parent or other family member, you may be able to claim guardianship in order to help them take care of their own legal and financial affairs. While of filing for guardianship is similar to obtaining rights to a child, there are a number of important differences.
The following is how to properly claim guardianship of an aging parent in Texas:
- Obtain a doctor’s letter or physician’s certificate. This type of form is a statewide document completed by a doctor that attests to the patient’s mental and physical ability. However, there are occasions when the elderly will refuse to visit a doctor. In certain cases, a court may order your loved one to submit himself or herself to an independent medical exam or can appoint a physical as well.
- File guardianship application in probate court. The court will conduct guardianship proceedings in order to determine whether or not you’re qualified to be a guardian and the access the capacity of the proposed ward. The judge will access your criminal background, financial responsibility, or whether any conflict of interests are present.
- Provide notice to the proposed ward (person needing guardianship) and family members. It is required to notify the proposed ward when you file the application for guardianship. It is also required to notify any relatives or anyone with a legal right to know about the guardianship petition. The family members you need to contact are detailed in the estate code.
- Understand the role of Attorney Ad Litem & Guardian Ad Litem. If you file for guardianship, the court must appoint an Attorney Ad Litem to represent the proposed ward/your loved one. The Attorney Ad Litem represents the interests of the proposed ward. If the court or the attorney thinks more investigation needs to be conducted, a Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed. Their job is to make recommendations on what is in the ward’s best interest.
If you need legal assistance for becoming a guardian for an elderly parent, contact Dossey & Jones, PLLC and request a consultation with our Conroe estate planning attorney today.