From A Texas Guardianship Attorney: How to Avoid Guardianship
A terrific article on mysanantonio.com by Paul Premack discusses an important topic: How do you avoid guardianship in Texas? This article motivated me to write a short article about avoiding guardianship in Texas.
.Tip 1: Get A Durable General Power of Attorney
A Durable General Power of Attorney is really just a “financial power of attorney.” You may have heard this document called a “statutory power of attorney” or “statutory durable power of attorney,” but all these titles refer to the same document. This type of power of attorney is a legal document in which you designate someone else to sign your name on legal documents, banking transactions, tax filings, etc.
The idea is that you should get your POA created by your estate planning attorney and get it signed while you’re of sound mind. This way, when you’re mentally incapacitated, the person you designate in your POA will be able to keep paying your bills.
By the way, getting a POA is easy and very affordable. In fact, our law office often creates them and simply emails to the client. Send us a message.
One of the main reasons an incapacitated person needs a guardianship is because he or she can’t pay the bills any more. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s may forget to pay rent or pay the health insurance bill. With a POA, you have pre-selected a trusted person to make sure that the bills get paid if/when you’re incapacitated (without needing a court-appointed guardian).
Tip 2: Get A Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is similar to the general durable power of attorney, except that the medical power of attorney is limited to medical decisions. In other words, when you sign a medical power of attorney, you’re appointing an agent to consent to medical treatment on your behalf. This way, if you become mentally incapacitated in the future, your agent can consent to medical treatment and talk with your medical staff.
Tip 3: Get A Declaration of Guardian
A “declaration of guardian” is a legal document you can sign to pre-select a future guardian (if a guardian is ever needed). If you sign the declaration of guardian and then later have dementia or Alzheimer’s, the judge will likely appoint your pre-designated guardian instead of someone else. You get a say in who your guardian is. This is important to have in advance, because if a guardianship proceeding is started, the judge may not put much weight on what you say you prefer at that time (because you’d be incapacitated at that point).
Tip 4: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!
It may be hard to see the urgency in getting your powers of attorney completed. However, our law office has personally handled guardianship cases involving sudden mental incapacity. For example, we helped the family of a man in his 20s who sustained a brain injury while skiing. We assisted another family with guardianship for their daughter in her 20s. This young lady was involved in a horseback riding incident. Long story short, you don’t know when you’ll need those powers of attorney, you need to have them in place well before they’re needed, so don’t delay.
Most Texans with a medical power of attorney and durable general power of attorney never need guardians, even if they become totally mentally incapacitated. That’s a good thing because guardianship in Texas can be burdensome and expensive. Applying for guardianship requires at least one attorney, at least one court hearing, and a fairly lengthy court process.
To ask a legal question or get legal help from Texas wills and Texas estate planning attorney Isaac Shutt, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the office in person, the attorneys will gladly offer a free consultation.
Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on basic Texas estate planning documents, Texas general durable power of attorney, Texas medical power of attorney, or the guardianship process in Texas, contact Richardson Estate Planning Attorney Isaac Shutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, Texas, and just South of Plano. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Arapaho Road in Richardson, TX.
You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter.
Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you want to know about the Texas guardianship process, more about a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Dallas Estate Planning Attorneys serving Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Rockwall, TX, Collin County, Dallas County, or surrounding North Texas area.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education and is believed to be accurate as of the time it was originally prepared, and laws change. If you have a legal question, you should consult a lawyer for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and and an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.