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Decedent Guardianship


Decedent Guardianship Attorney in Houston, Texas


Life is unpredictable. As parents, you worry about who will take care of your children in the unlikely event something happens to you and your spouse.  Establishing a good estate plan for your minor children is a simple way to ensure that your children are cared for in the wake of tragedy.

Generally, parents take care of and make decisions for their children and adults can do the same for themselves. However, there may come a time that this will no longer be possible and someone else needs to step in to take care of a child or an adult. Suppose a loved one seems to be unable to make decisions, handle finances, or take care of themselves. In that case, you may want to consider filing a petition for legal guardianship with the help of a knowledgeable Houston estate planning attorney.

At Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law, we have extensive experience in navigating the complex guardianship, conservatorship, probate process, estate planning, and estate administration laws in Texas. We diligently help our clients obtain, dispute, or defend legal guardianships. 

We will evaluate your case thoroughly and provide legal representation throughout the guardianship process. We will help you explore your legal options and obtain the outcome you want in guardianship proceedings.

To know more about how to handle your guardianship matters effectively, schedule an initial consultation with us today. 

What is Guardianship?


Guardianship is generally imposed when someone is unable to make their own decisions regarding their welfare and/or their finances. It is defined as the legal process of petitioning the family court to appoint a guardian to care for an individual (known as a ward) who requires special needs and protection. Legal guardians have the authority to carry out their duties, make decisions for their ward, and represent their ward’s personal and financial interests.

The need for guardianship can arise for several reasons. Typically, legal guardianship is for minors, developmentally disabled adults, and older adults who have become incapacitated due to an illness or age. A guardianship may be needed over a child if a minor child’s parents are deceased. 

It may also be needed over an adult if the adult has become mentally incapacitated or incompetent. This means that the person is unable to take care of himself or herself due to mental illness or mental incapacity.  

Since establishing a guardianship may remove significant rights from an individual, it should only be considered after alternatives to guardianship have proven ineffective or are unavailable. It is best viewed as a last resort to assure the physical and financial security of a loved one who can no longer manage his or her affairs.

A seasoned Houston decedent guardianship attorney can help you determine whether seeking guardianship is the best option for your situation.

What are the Types of Guardianships?


Guardianship is divided into two functions: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. One guardian may serve both roles, or there may be a guardian of the person and guardian of the estate for one individual. To determine which type of guardianship is the right choice for you or someone you love, seek legal help from a credible Houston decedent guardianship attorney.

Guardianship of the Person

A guardian of the person is responsible for the actual physical and medical care of a minor or incapacitated person. This type of guardianship means the guardian is responsible for the well-being and care of the protected person. The guardian will be able to make personal decisions including matters related to residence, healthcare, or education.

In Texas, the court uses a top-down approach in granting guardianships, with designated persons and family members given preference before anyone else. For minors, the courts assign guardianships in several situations. This includes circumstances when parents have abandoned a minor, when a minor’s parents have died, or when a minor’s parents are incapable of providing proper care for the minor.

If the parents have left a will, it should name who will be guardians of the child. If there is no will, a reliable Houston decedent guardianship lawyer can help establish guardianship with the court. The court’s decision regarding guardianship will be made based on the intestacy laws of the state. In both contested and uncontested situations, the court determines what is in the children’s best interests.

For adult guardianship, the person must have a physical or mental condition that prohibits or greatly restricts the ability to provide food, clothing, and shelter independently. The courts appoint guardians, or conservators, to protect the interests and satisfy the needs of the alleged incapacitated individuals. The hierarchy starts with a person designated as guardian before the incapacity, spouse, next of kin, and then any non-relative.

Guardianship of the Estate

A guardian of the estate is responsible for the handling of all the legal estate assets, properties, and business-related matters for the person. This type of guardianship allows the guardian to make financial decisions for the person. Even after the guardianship is granted, court approval is still required before spending or selling any of the person’s assets.

What is the Guardianship Process in Texas?


Houston decedent guardianship attorney

The guardianship process has many steps to ensure that the rights of the proposed ward are protected and that guardianship is necessary. A credible Houston decedent guardianship lawyer can help you know and understand this legal proceeding.

The process begins with an application for guardianship. Then, within the time frame of about  120 days, you must file a detailed certificate that explains and justifies the reason behind the guardianship request. 

If you’re going to file for guardianships based on incapacity, a doctor’s evaluation of the proposed ward is required. After the guardianship certificate has been submitted, the court will appoint an attorney ad litem for the case to represent and protect the rights of the proposed ward. 

Once guardianship is approved, Letters of Guardianship are issued. However, the letters expire after about 16 months. To get new letters, you must file an annual report and post a new bond. The court can remove you as a guardian if you violate the oath.

Speak to Our Experienced Houston Decedent Guardianship Attorney Now!


Guardianship is a very serious matter and it must be handled with the utmost care, keeping the well-being of the ward in mind. The guardianship process can be complicated and overwhelming depending on the circumstances. Whatever the case may be, Texas courts are strict in determining guardianships because of the decision-making power and responsibilities that come with being a guardian.

The state law governing guardianship can be challenging to navigate alone. If you have questions about legal guardianship in Texas, it is highly advisable to consult our competent Houston decedent guardianship attorneys at At Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law. 

Our estate planning law firm regularly handles cases related to establishing, defending, and administering guardianships and conservatorships. We can help prepare all the necessary paperwork in drafting and filing a petition for guardianship. We will assist you in making the best decisions on behalf of your ward and ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of no matter what happens. If you need legal assistance regarding guardianship matters, schedule an initial consultation with us today.

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