When a person cannot care for himself or make decisions on his own, guardianship becomes necessary. Guardianship is common when there are children who need care. Parents are usually the guardians of their children, but sometimes someone else must step in when parents cannot provide for a child’s needs. However, guardianship is not only for kids. If an adult of any age becomes unable to manage his or her own affairs, or to make and communicate decisions, guardianship becomes necessary.
If someone you love is sick or injured and needs someone to step in and act for him, guardianship proceedings may become necessary. Vermillion Law Firm, LLC provides legal representation to those who need to turn to the court system to get legal authority to help a friend or relative. We also provide legal help to individuals who want to create an advanced plan in case of incapacity so their loved ones do not need to pursue guardianship. Give us a call as soon as possible so we can help with your situation, and so you can get answers to questions including:
- When does guardianship become necessary?
- How can you get get guardianship?
- How can a Dallas, TX guardianship lawyer help?
When Does Guardianship Become Necessary?
Guardianship becomes necessary in situations where age or incapacity have prevented someone from being able to make his or her own decisions. The person in need of a guardian can be declared a ward by the court, if incapacity is proved. If the person is under age 18 and not being cared for, he or she is assumed to need guardianship. If the individual is older, the court will need to carefully assess whether the legal definition of incapacity is met before declaring that someone is in fact unfit to make decisions and in need of a guardian.
Once the court has made an assessment and decided guardianship is necessary, the court will then make a determination regarding who is best suited to serve as guardian.
How Can You Get Guardianship?
If you believe that someone you care about has become unable to act on his or her own behalf, it is up to you to take action. You can initiate guardianship proceedings in a wide variety of circumstances, from a situation where a loved one gets dementia to a tragedy that occurs when someone is hit by a car and left brain damaged.
When you initiate guardianship proceedings, you will need to prove incapacity before the court appoints a guardian. The main consideration is whether the person actually needs to be declared a ward due to an inability to make or communicate decisions. An experienced attorney can help you to present evidence, including testimony from medical professionals, to demonstrate why a guardian is needed.
Once the court has determined incapacity necessitates declaring someone a ward, you will next need to convince the court that you are the best person to serve as guardian. The court takes the best interests of the ward into account and a person who has petitioned for guardianship may actually not be the one who is appointed as a guardian. The court may determine that someone else entirely is a better choice to serve as a court-appointed guardian overseeing the affairs of the ward.
The complexity and uncertainty of guardianship proceedings is a major part of why it is so important to create a power of attorney while still of sound mind. When a durable power of attorney is in place and an agent has been named named, guardianship proceedings are not necessary because the agent will act upon the incapacity of the person who created the power of attorney.
Both an agent and a guardian have a fiduciary duty- the highest duty – to act on behalf of, and in the best interests of, the ward. However, there is usually more oversight with guardianship than when a power of attorney has been created because a power of attorney arrangement can become operational without involving the courts but guardianship cannot. Courts routinely make guardians report back on the condition of the ward as part of the obligation of acting as a guardian.
How Can a Dallas, TX Guardianship Lawyer Help?
A guardianship lawyer should be consulted before one is needed. If you wait to become incapacitated before you act, it could be too late for you to name a person to act as an agent. You must be of sound mind and body when giving someone authority to make decisions for you, so if your capacity is already affected you will not be able to choose your agent and your loved ones will have to go through guardianship proceedings. A Dallas, TX guardianship lawyer at Vermillion Law Firm, LLC provides help both in planing to avoid guardianship and in going to court to get a guardian appointed. Call us now at (972) 366-7201 to learn more.