The Heard & Smith, L.L.P. firm developed this site to provide information on guardianship in Texas. “Guardianship” grants an individual legal authority to manage the affairs of a loved one who is unable to make their own decisions due to physical or mental incapacitation. Our Texas attorneys have worked with many families whose loved ones are no longer able to care for themselves due to developmental disabilities, disease, or injury. We are sensitive to the emotional distress of those called upon to seek guardianship and our lawyers recognize that this awesome responsibility can be made more difficult by conflicting emotions and a complicated judicial process. If you are contemplating seeking guardianship, Heard & Smith attorneys can help you face this sometimes overwhelming situation. We have the resources, understanding and knowledge to guide you in your quest to protect the well-being of your family member who cannot care for themselves.

Guardianship empowers a court-appointed individual or entity (the guardian) with the authority to make decisions for an individual (ward) who is found to be incapacitated. Adults, minors (someone under 18 years old) and missing persons may be considered incapacitated. The court deems a person incapacitated when they are unable to make informed decisions and cannot:

  • Provide food, clothing or shelter for themselves,
  • Care for their own physical health, or
  • Manage their financial matters.

Guardians have different levels of authority depending on the limitations of their ward. Some individuals require guardianship for both their person and their estate. A guardian who is responsible for a person makes decisions related to medical treatment, living environment and other matters that safeguard the well-being of the ward. Estate guardianship grants authority over an incapacitated person’s property and/or financial affairs. In the event that a person is in immediate danger, the court may grant temporary guardianship for up to sixty days. The court may also initiate guardianship procedures if they are notified that a county resident appears to be incapacitated and is experiencing abuse, self-neglect or exploitation.

Placing a person under guardianship removes many civil liberties that citizens in America enjoy. A ward loses the right to manage his or her own affairs; to choose where to live; to consent and refuse medical treatment; and even the rights to vote and to drive. Because these rights are so significant, the court requires substantial evidence and documentation to substantiate incapacitation. This is a complex process that requires the skill and experience of a qualified guardianship lawyer. Heard & Smith, L.L.P. attorneys actually serve as guardians and have represented hundreds of families in guardianship matters. Mark Stanton Smith has served two terms as President of the National Guardianship Association and has served on the board of Texas groups involved in guardianship matters. He is a recognized national expert on guardianship matters.

If you are trying to decide how to fulfill your commitment to your incapacitated loved one please contact us at (210) 904-3200 to discuss your situation.

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