Removing anything from a Texan is difficult. Think about your reactions if someone came to your table while you were out with your family at your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, and they tried to remove your chips, salsa, and perfectly chilled beverage.
Simple analogy, sure, but understand that taking things away from people is easier than taking rights away and for good reason. No one wants their food removed before they have finished, let alone their rights taken away while they still can live their life on their terms, with little to no interference from others.
Guardianship is a legal process, utilized when a person is no longer able to make or communicate safe or sound decisions. This definition holds so much meaning, especially when considering the gravity of a person’s rights in their entirety. Haphazardly removing someone’s rights should not be easy; so yes, guardianship can be difficult.
Obtaining guardianship over someone else is a legal process. Legal means attorneys, judges, a court investigator, doctor, time, and money. The guardianship process will require an applicant (person who wants the guardianship to be established), the proposed ward (person who may need a guardian), and witnesses who can testify to the incapacity of a person, such as family members, friends, neighbors, social workers, and other professionals. While this seems like a lot, it is all to ensure a judge has all the facts to make a proper ruling, in the best interest of the ward.
Once the judge has granted the guardianship, the real work starts! The guardian should make decisions for the ward which impose the least restrictions and are “in the best interest of” the ward. Remember, the Court is now involved and with that comes annual reports, annual accounting, care plans, and anything else the Court orders. While a guardian can make decisions, authorize care, and pay bills, they are responsible and accountable to the Court.
Guardianship is not quick, it is not always easy, but when needed and done correctly it can support, protect, and direct the care of the ward throughout the rest of their incapacity. Why is guardianship so difficult? Because removing rights from an individual should only be done as a last option to protect the vulnerable.
Hammerle Finley Offers Guardianship Services
Hammerle’s unique Guardian Services program is one of the only guardianship and care management programs within the state of Texas that is hosted by a sought-after law firm. There are numerous benefits to the client and their family through this unique relationship, such as highly qualified and trained staff, access to legal advice and direction, and an additional level of oversight and accountability.
Courtney Carey is a Texas Certified Guardian and a Care Manager, with experience in Texas Medicaid waiver programs, intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, and geriatrics. Contact Hammerle Finley Law Firm to schedule a consultation: www.hammerle.com. This column does not constitute legal advice.