It is easy to take for granted the ability to manage day-to-day activities. With the effects of aging, though, many people begin to have trouble keeping up. There may be important tasks that they are no longer able to take care of due to mental or physical health issues.

In Texas, the courts may name a guardian for an adult who needs help.

When a person needs a guardian

No one can simply request to be someone else’s guardian and attempt to convince the court that the proposed ward is unable to care for himself or herself. A physician must examine the ward to determine whether there is medical or mental incapacity and must provide the court with a certificate of medical examination or letter to that effect.

The process of appointing a guardian

The person who needs a guardian must first become a ward of the court. This happens after someone files an application with the court to appoint a guardian. There is a hearing, and a judge makes the appointment.

Who may be a guardian

Although the guardian may be a person, a guardianship program or an entity may also fill this role. However, the court’s first preference would be for a family member to fill the role. The judge has the authority to disqualify a person or program from guardianship and may do so if the proposed guardian owes money to the ward or has certain criminal convictions.

Responsibilities of a guardian

The court will detail the exact responsibilities of a guardian depending on the ward’s needs. Financial responsibilities of a guardian may include paying bills and managing the ward’s assets, including using these to make sure the ward receives adequate medical care and living needs. The guardian does not have to use his or her own resources to pay for the ward’s needs or debts and cannot force the ward to take prescribed medication.

There is also a reporting system in place to ensure that the guardian is fulfilling all of his or her duties.