Do you have a loved one who can no longer take care of themselves? Are they having difficulty in paying their bills? Have their utilities been disconnected?
Perhaps you need to consider a guardianship. A guardianship is a court ordered scenario where a person is appointed to act on another’s behalf. The Texas statute requires that the court consider the LEAST intrusive means. There are two parts to a potential guardianship. Perhaps your loved one needs both parts or perhaps they only need some of one part.
Guardian of the Person
This is an order wherein the “guardian” to be appointed will have the rights, duties and obligations to care for the “ward” (your loved one). This includes health, welfare, hygiene, living conditions and daily life activities (dressing, cleaning, feeding). The guardian does not become a babysitter for the loved one, but becomes the person authorized to make the decisions for the loved one. Can the loved one remain at home if he or she had full time care within their home? Or, does the loved one just need assistance with cooking meals but is capable of dressing and washing themselves?
Guardian of the Estate
The is an order wherein the guardian appointed has the rights and responsibilities for management of income and payment of bills. This person is also responsible for investment of funds (very conservatively) to increase the ward’s funds. If the ward previously had monies invested in stocks, those funds can remain there, but additional or non-invested funds can only be invested in government insured (FDIC/FSLIC) accounts without prior court authority.
Persons appointed by the courts as a Guardian must file annual reports on the location, welfare and status of the Ward as well as a separate report on the status of the Wards accounts. The Estate report must show all monies deposited or received as each and every check written.
If the proposed Ward has a “Designation of Guardian in Event of Need” that they had prepared and properly signed, the court will take this document into account. However, most people avoid making such a designation. Then the issue becomes who should be appointed. If such a designation was not made, the court will rely on the statute for “order of preference”. Spouse is first; a child is second; other family is third. The problem is that if you have more than one child, which one should be appointed? They have equal standing, but only one can be appointed to each category.
Think about it!!!! Who would care for you physically? Who is able to make “the hard decisions”? Who is money-savvy and can invest wisely and conservatively and not cause you to become bankrupt? Obviously, you would not want a family member who takes your possessions or money appointed to be in charge of your possessions and money. But that means YOU have to write down your wants and desires and let people know.
Guardianship is an area of the law where the person to be appointed, needs to have the time, inclination and love to handle all the aspects that require work. Call Pam Keever or Kathleen Wiesenthal to discuss.