If there is someone in your life that you believe is unable to care for himself, you may believe it is necessary to obtain legal guardianship papers. The fact is that preparing legal guardianship papers in Texas is a process that by law requires the involvement of other individuals and the court. There are specific steps outlined in Texas law that must be followed in order to prepare and obtain legal guardianship papers in that state, documents which legally are known as letters of guardianship.
Obtain an evaluation from a suitable health care professional regarding the mental or physical capacity of the individual that is intended to be the subject of a guardianship. The health care professional can be a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist, as the situation requires. The health care professional will need to prepare an appropriately detailed report on they medical or psychological status of the person proposed for a guardianship. Under the terms and conditions of Texas law, there must be a statement within the written report that a guardianship is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the subject of the proceedings.
Prepare and submit an application for guardianship with the local county court. Attached to the application you need to include the report from the health care provider that you obtained previously. This will be the primary exhibit in support of the application for the appointment of a guardian. Within the guardianship application the name of the person who is the intended guardian also needs to be included.
Appointment of what is known as guardian at litem will be made by the court at this juncture under the provisions of Texas law. The guardian ad litem is an independent individual, normally an attorney, who will meet with the person who is intended to be placed in a guardianship. The role of this individual in the proceedings is to represent the interest of the person for whom a guardianship is sought. This is a temporary appointment and should not be confused with the person who will be designated as the actual and permanent guardian by the court when the proceedings are completed.
Schedule with the court a hearing on the guardianship application. You will need to provide notice of that hearing to all interested and necessary parties. This will include the person who is to be placed in a guardianship, the guardian at litem and family members. Additionally, you will need to inquire as to whether or not the judge will want the health care professional who provided a report on the subject of the proceedings to appear in person to testify. The requirement of such a personal appearance by the health care professional varies from one court to another in Texas and from one case to the next.
Execute the oath of guardianship at the conclusion of the hearing. This document sets forth the legal obligations and the fiduciary duties that the guardian is required to meet. Fiduciary duties under Texas law represent the obligation to deal with the person in the guardianship and his or her property and assets in an honest and appropriate manner.
The letters of guardianship will be issued by the court at this juncture. These papers represent the order of the court actually appointing an individual to be the duly designated guardian. This is the final step in preparing and obtaining guardianship papers in the State of Texas.