If you have a parent, or other elderly loved one, who has reached the point where you are concerned that he or she cannot safely live alone and/or make important decisions without assistance it may be time for you to consider petitioning to become his/her guardian. As a guardian you will have the legal authority to protect your loved and/or his or her assets. Unless you have been through the process of petitioning for guardianship before you probably have a number of questions about the process itself, starting with “ How much does guardianship cost in Texas? ” As is the case with most legal processes it is impossible to provide a universal answer to that question because every guardianship process is unique; however, a better understanding of the process itself may provide you with a better idea of how the cost of guardianship is determined.
To become a guardian you must be appointed by a court. The first step is to file a Petition for Guardianship with the appropriate court. The petition sets forth the concerns you have regarding the proposed ward (your loved one) and the reasons why you believe a guardianship is the best solution to the situation. The Petition then asks the court to appoint you as the guardian if the court agrees that a guardian is needed. When the Petition is filed with the court you will also need to notify the proposed ward along with other close family member, such as a spouse or children. Because of both the complexity of the documents that must be prepared and the importance of the subject matter it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced Texas estate planning attorney to prepare the Petition and all accompanying documents for you.
When the Petition is filed you will pay a one-time filing fee. You will also incur legal fees if your estate planning attorney prepares the documents for filing. After everyone has been notified you must wait and see if anyone objects to the guardianship. Anyone who was required to be notified may file an official objection as can the proposed ward himself/herself. The proposed ward has a right to be represented by an attorney as well throughout the proceedings. If no objection is raised the process will be relatively simple from there on out. If an objection is raised, however, your attorney must litigate the issue. A hearing will be scheduled where evidence is presented in favor or an in opposition to the appointment of a guardian. The court may also order an independent evaluation done by a professional prior to the hearing.
Ultimately, the cost of obtaining guardianship over your loved one will depend, to a great deal, on whether or not everyone involved agrees that a guardian is needed and that you should be the guardian.
If you have additional questions or concerns about guardianship and/or your Texas estate plan, contact the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling 281-759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.