Life is uncertain, and anyone can be injured in an accident or be afflicted with an incapacitating illness at any time. In these situations, it may be necessary to protect the rights of those who are no longer capable of caring for themselves by creating a guardianship.
The Law Office of Carey Thompson, P.C. has extensive experience estate planning for clients in Azle, Blue Mound, Fort Worth, Haslet, Keller, Lake Worth, Newark, Saginaw, and throughout greater Tarrant County. We treat each client with dignity and respect and work diligently to arrange for the care of their loved ones.
What is a Guardianship?
Those who have been injured in an accident or who suffer from an incapacitating physical illness, psychological disorder, or some other condition that prevents them from caring for themselves, may need legal protection.
A guardianship is a legal arrangement that places an individual, also known as a ward, under the supervision of a guardian, or custodian – either a family member, friend or fiduciary appointed by the court. A ward may be a minor without a parental guardian as well as an adult who is incapable of making safe and sound decisions about his or her own person or property. Some of the different forms of guardianship include:
- Emergency Guardianship
- Limited Guardianship
- Medical Guardianship
- Parental Guardianship
- Permanent Guardianship
- Temporary Guardianship
What are the main types of guardianship?
Generally, there are two types of guardianship – guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate or property:
Of the Person
In this arrangement, the guardian is responsible for attending to the incapacitated individual’s care and welfare. The guardian has the right to make decisions about where the ward will live, authorize medical care as well as end-of-life decisions. The guardian is also responsible for maintaining the protected person’s autonomy as much as possible.
Of the Estate or Property
This arrangement is necessary when an estate plan is not in place. This enables the guardian to make important financial decisions on behalf of the protected person. The guardian has the right to control bank and brokerage accounts, and real estate as well as to use the protected person’s funds to pay bills and expenses such as rent or a mortgage.
The guardian of the estate is also authorized to apply for social security, Medicaid and other public benefits on behalf of the protected person. However, the guardian must also file an annual accounting of all income and expenses of the protected person’s’ estate with court. Many guardianships of the estate are temporary arrangements, designed to protect an individual until he or she regains capacity.
Guardianships may also be used to protect the legal rights of a minor in the event that a parent is no longer able to act on behalf of his or her child. A guardian, usually a relative, may need to be appointed if (1) the child’s parents have become incapacitated or died, (2) the child is not receiving adequate care or (3) the child is being abused. In most cases, parental approval is sought prior to any legal proceedings and the legal relationship between the biological parents and the child is not terminated.
What rights does a person placed have?
It is important to note that the appointment of a guardian may limit the rights of a protected individual in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
- Choosing where to live
- Entering into contracts and property transactions
- Obtaining a driver’s license
- Receiving informed consent for medical treatment
- Making end-of-life decisions
For this reason, the person appointed guardian must be capable and trustworthy, and act in the best interests of the ward. At the same time, a protected person retains his her rights to due process, including the right to attend any related legal proceedings and to be represented by an attorney who can present evidence and question any witnesses.
Guardianship Lawyer Servicing Dallas & Fort Worth
If you need assistance arranging for the care of a minor child or adult who cannot care for themselves, you are well advised to engage the services of the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC. Our dedicated attorneys will work diligently to help you make the necessary arrangements to protect your loved one. We will prepare all the guardianship forms and documentation and represent clients at guardianship hearings. Because placing a loved one in a guardianship is a difficult decision to make, we offer each client a superior level of personal service and compassionately guide them through the process. If you have questions about establishing a guardianship, contact our office today to set up a consultation.
Carey Thompson is an estate planning attorney that serves clients in Azle, Dallas, Fort Worth, Keller, Saginaw, and throughout greater Tarrant County and helps them with their guardianship needs.