Parents take care of their children as they grow up and age. However, when these parents are getting older, children may get concerned about their parent’s health and well-being. In these cases, they may seek a guardian for their loved one, to take care of their personal and financial affairs. They, of course, want to take their parent’s wishes into account, but also may not want to leave them on their own anymore—especially if they are physically incapacitated or are in mental decline. Below is information about when Texans should seek guardianship for their aging parents, along with essential aspects of a guardianship.
What is a Guardianship?
Guardianship is obtaining the legal authority to make choices for another individual. A guardian is someone responsible for another person’s personal and financial affairs when they are no longer mentally capable of making these decisions for themselves. By law, individuals are assumed mentally capable of making their own decisions; because of this, people must go through a court process to declare someone incapacitated and appoint a guardian for them. A guardianship may be needed if the person cannot take care of themselves due to mental illness, disease, or mental incapacity.
Because guardianships can mean individuals do not have the ability to make decisions for themselves—including the ability to marry, vote, or even make certain medical decisions—courts will sometimes limit a guardian’s authority to the area they may need help with, like financial affairs.
How Do I Seek a Guardianship for a Loved One?
When someone files a petition with a court to seek guardianship of an adult, a judge will hold a hearing to decide if the individual needs a guardian. This process will often involve an exam to see if they suffer from a medical condition that impairs their judgment—unless the need is clear for a guardian, like if the person is in a coma or suffered a stroke. If the judge finds the individual is mentally competent, then a guardian will not be appointed. Otherwise, a guardian, potentially with limitations on their power, will be granted.
The guardianship process should not be lightly undertaken as it is a long and stressful endeavor and can be expensive; however, individuals who think guardianship is necessary for a loved one should contact an experienced estate planning attorney to assist them.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one is seeking guardianship for an aging loved one, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. We understand that it can be an emotional and stressful time as parents age and they can no longer handle their affairs on their own, but we are here to help. By working with our experienced attorneys, we can work with you to file a guardianship petition and ensure that the process is managed in a thoughtful and thorough way. To speak with one of our attorneys and to schedule a free, initial consultation, give us a call at 713-333-8900 today.