Contested Guardianship Attorney in Houston, Texas
If a family member or an elderly loved one with special needs seems to be unable to make decisions, handle finances, or take care of themselves, you may want to consider seeking guardianship. It is expected that the guardian can be trusted with the management of personal-property, bank-account of the ward. Most of the time, guardianships are established and maintained as part of estate planning without much conflict. However, this is not always the case. Not everyone may agree that guardianship is necessary or about who should be appointed as guardians.
Anyone who disagrees with guardianship, such as a ward, a family member, a surviving spouse, or any other interested party, can let the judge know their concerns by contesting the guardianship. Such an action will likely require the knowledge and court skills of our credible Houston estate planning lawyers.
At Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law, we offer a wide range of legal services related to probate and estate planning issues such as complex guardianship, conservatorship, wills, trusts, asset protection, estate taxes, and estate administration laws in Texas. Our lawyers with in depth knowledge in estate law can diligently provide clients with legal help to obtain, dispute or defend guardianships. We will evaluate your case and explore your legal options to obtain the outcome you want in guardianship proceedings.
To learn more about how to handle your guardianship matters effectively, call our estate planning lawyer today at 832-479-4499 and schedule an initial consultation.
What is Contested Guardianship?
A guardianship, whether set up by a probate judge or in an estate plan, can be contested by the person being taken care of, by concerned family members, or other individuals. When a guardianship is contested, it means that the person who was appointed or who is being considered for the appointment is challenged by another party. It usually happens when it is believed that the guardian has not properly fulfilled the role of a legal guardian or is somehow unfit to do so.
No matter what your position may be in a contested guardianship, you will have to petition the probate court, state your case, and present evidence backing up your legal position. While contesting a guardianship arrangement, the lawsuit filed in court can involve multiple parties challenging the previous court order designating the guardian. If you are a legal guardian and your position is being questioned, or if you are contesting the designation of another legal guardian, you should seek legal advice from a skilled Houston estate planning attorney.
What are the Reasons Why Guardianship May Be Contested?
When the court appoints a guardian for a minor or incapacitated adult, there are several factors to be considered before making the final decision. Generally, the judge chooses the guardian who has the best intentions for the ward and is physically and mentally capable of providing high-quality care. During the probate process, the court must give preference to someone related by blood or marriage to the incapacitated person, but the court can appoint a guardian who is fit and proper even if they aren’t related. Despite the family connections, legal guardians must be found by the court as eligible and qualified to carry out their role in caring for the needs of their ward.
However, disagreements among family members about the care of an aging or incapacitated loved one often lead to a contested guardianship proceeding. Some of them may not agree with the court’s decision and object to guardianship. The primary legal issue of family members frequently revolves around succession, money, and control. When dealing with contested guardianships and probate, having a reliable Houston contested guardianship lawyer by your side is crucial.
Contested guardianship is a legal process which usually happens based on the argument that the appointed guardian is unfit to care for the ward or has done something unethical in handling the ward’s affairs. Furthermore, you may also contest guardianship because another person seems to be a better fit for the role, or the ward does not necessarily need such restrictive and special care. Where significant finances are on the line, family members may have different views about how to administer and distribute the legal estate assets, leading to disputes over to whom the responsibility should fall.
Guardianship may be challenged if the chosen guardian allegedly:
- Is generally unfit to care for the ward
- Is not financially capable of supporting the ward
- Is emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive or neglectful
- Has failed to properly follow the orders specified in the guardianship agreement
- Has committed some type of fraud or misrepresentation
- Has committed a crime for which he or she has been convicted
- Has a drug or alcohol addiction
How Do I Contest a Guardianship?
You may be able to contest a guardianship before or after the guardian is appointed by the court. In either case, you’ll have to prove why guardianship should not exist. You will need a knowledgeable contested guardianship attorney in Houston to file the contest, gather sufficient evidence, and persuasively present your challenge to the judge.
Contesting Before a Guardian is Appointed
Before the appointment of the guardian, you have the opportunity to present your case at a hearing held by the court. If you have been served with legal papers about a proposed guardianship, you should have a document called the “Citation to Appear and Show Cause”. This legal document tells you when the courthouse hearing is scheduled.
During the hearing, the judge will determine whether or not the appointment of a guardian is necessary. You may attend the hearing and raise your concerns about the proposed guardianship. You can also file an “Objection” to the Guardianship in a written statement and submit it to the court.
Contesting After a Guardian is Appointed
After the appointment of the guardian, challenging guardianship becomes more complicated. You’ll have to file a complaint with the court to have the guardianship order set aside. If you’d like to oppose the guardianship you have the following options:
- File a “Motion to Set Aside the Order,” which claims the order was obtained due to fraud, misrepresentation, mistake, excusable neglect, or misconduct.
- Ask the court to remove and replace the guardian if they have failed or neglected to perform their duties, mismanaged the estate property, or are not suitable to serve as the guardian.
- Ask the court to end the guardianship if it is no longer needed.
Speak to Our Experienced Houston Contested Guardianship Attorney Now!
When a loved one is no longer able to manage their affairs, it can be difficult for everyone involved. Many divided families end up in court fighting over who should be appointed as the legal guardian of the ward. Sometimes families work together, but many times ongoing family disputes make cooperation impossible. Guardianship disputes often prove to be extremely complicated. If someone in the family contests guardianship, effective legal representation is essential.
Whether you wish to create or establish a guardianship, terminate a guardianship, or contest an existing or proposed guardianship, our competent Houston contested guardianship attorneys at Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law will work to represent your needs and goals. Our estate planning law firm has decades of experience assisting clients in obtaining guardianships for loved ones who can no longer make decisions on their own. We seek to create workable solutions for families involved in a contested guardianship and conservatorship throughout the greater Houston area. We will evaluate your claims, file the required paperwork, and help you secure the outcome that is in the best interests of your loved ones. We will ensure that your family receives the care and protection they deserve.
If you have questions about guardianship and estate planning, call us today at 832-479-4499 for a free consultation.
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