Guardianship

Mental Health Resources: Who You Gonna Call?

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated waves of mental health concerns, both for people who have previously struggled with mental illness and for those who have not.  The current uncertainty and widespread panic would shake even the most stolid of hearts.  Consider a situation in which you, a friend, or a family member is experiencing anxiety, fear, depression, or other mental health concern.  Who are you going to call? I’ll give...

What Happens If The Original Will Is Lost?

Don't Lose the Original Will Wills only take legal effect when the person who made the will dies and the will is admitted to probate. Probate is a legal process where a court hears evidence to prove that the will is valid and should be given legal effect.  Normally this requires that the original will ( not a copy) be filed with the clerk of the court. Most wills are self-authenticating,...

Why You Should Not Write-off Your Elders

The Statistics Speak For Themselves Before you buy into that stereotype that all older Americans are demented, helpless and lonely, check out these statistics. Ninety-seven percent of Americans  over 65 are NOT in nursing homes.  Here’s an even more interesting statistic - ninety-one percent of Americans aged 85 and older are not in nursing homes. Ninety percent of Americans aged 65 and older DO NOT have Alzheimer’s dementia.  Ninety percent, folks.  According...

Selecting a Fiduciary

In most estate planning you will be called on to select five fiduciaries: the agent on your medical power of attorney; the agent on your statutory durable power of attorney, a guardian on your declaration of guardian; the executor of your will; and the trustee of any trust you create. For each of these positions my advice is to select the best qualified person for the job. There are some...

Documents You Absolutely Positively Must Have in Place

Do not take a vacation, leave for college, go through surgery or get on a small plane without having these documents in place and current.  A will.  This document can be simple or complex, but it should not be based on a form that you download from the internet.  Because a will is so important, you should be extremely careful on how it is drafted and executed. Helpful hint: you...

Guardianship Reform at the Forefront of State Policies

It is easy to criticize a state government, but we should also give credit where it is due. Texas has been recognized as a model for other states for its Guardianship Abuse Fraud and Exploitation Deterrence Program. That is guardianship reform, folks, and it is a good thing.  The population of Texans 65+ is projected to double to 6 million by 2030. Since 2014, the Texas Judicial Council has been studying guardianship...

Guardianship: Abuse or Protection? Buzz Aldrin’s Dilemma

The rich and famous are not immune from guardianship, and neither are you. Take, for example, Buzz Aldrin. His guardianship case was in the news in 2018 not only because of his fame but also because of the unusual counteraction that he took:  he sued back. The contretemps started in a Florida court when two of Aldrin’s three children and his business manager filed a guardianship action against Aldrin.  Aldrin, age 88, responded...

Guardianship Overview: Drastic Remedy is Complex

Let’s talk guardianship. A guardianship is a court-created and supervised relationship. There are three main players – the ward, the guardian, and the judge. The ward is a person who a judge has determined who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to provide food, clothes, or shelter for himself or herself, cannot care of his or her own physical health or is unable to manage his or...

Dementia – Planning Ahead

According to the National Institute on Aging,  dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning (thinking, remembering, and reasoning) and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia is more common as people grow older. Up to half of all people age 85 or older may have some form of dementia. As Elder Lawyers, we deal with dementia from a legal perspective. Estate planning...

The Bill of Rights for Wards

Texas Estates Code Chapter § 1151.351 Bill of Rights for Wards (A) A ward has all the rights, benefits, responsibilities, and privileges granted by the constitution and laws of this state and the United States, except where specifically limited by a court-ordered guardianship or where otherwise lawfully restricted. (B) Unless limited by a court or otherwise restricted by law, a ward is authorized to the following: (1) to have a copy of the guardianship order and...

Methods of Managing Your Money

So you need some help managing your financial affairs.  Let’s look at your options. A Power of Attorney is a document you sign that gives another person authority to handle all or some of your financial transactions.  In the Power of Attorney, you are the principal and the person you appoint is the agent.  The document describes the types of transactions the agent is authorized to handle.   The Power of...

Appointing An Agent to Manage Your Finances

So you need some help managing your financial affairs.  Let’s look at your options. A Power of Attorney is a document you sign that gives another person authority to handle all or some of your financial transactions.  In the Power of Attorney, you are the principal and the person you appoint is the agent.  The document describes the types of transactions the agent is authorized to handle. The Power of...
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