Protecting the vulnerable and incapacitated is foremost in Colette’s heart because within her own family she has personally experienced the challenges of protecting legally incapacitated individuals. For over twelve years and continuing today, Colette handles court-appointed guardianship cases.
What is Court Appointed Guardianship?
Guardianship is a Court process that allows for an incapacitated individual to have their decisions made by another person who the Court appoints.
An individual may be incapacitated due to intellectual disability, age, disease or injury. If an individual is declared legally incapacitated, then their rights are taken away and are vested in the Guardian. These rights can be things like the right to make residential decisions, the right to marry, the right to vote, the right to drive, or manage finances.
Guardianship is a serious step used to protect incapacitated individuals. It requires documentation of incapacity to be introduced in Court and the guardianship must be tailored as narrowly as possible. This means we want to only take away the rights that are absolutely necessary to protect the incapacitated individual.
Because of this no two guardianships need to be the same but rather each guardianship is tailored specifically to the individual who needs protecting.
Alternatives to Guardianship
Also, there are alternatives to Guardianship and those must be explored thoroughly before a Court will order a Guardianship. Guardianship should be a last resort, with alternatives such as Durable Medical Power of Attorney and Statutory Durable Power of Attorney being explored first.
An individual can plan ahead to name who they would like to be their Guardian should the need arise. A document can be executed, that document is a Declaration of Guardian and can be provided on its own or as part of an estate planning package. This is an important document because it tells your family who you want to be your Guardian if the need ever arises.
What type of Guardianship do I need
An incapacitated individual can have a Guardian of the Person, a Guardian of the Estate, or both. The Guardian of the Person is given authority to make personal decisions such as residence, medical treatment, marriage, employment etc. A Guardian of the Estate is needed when the incapacitated individual has an estate that need to be managed.
An example of where only a Guardian of the Person would be needed is an individual who is incapacitated due to intellectual disability, but that person has no finances or only limited finances. A Guardian of the Person generally has the ability to handle monies up to two thousand dollars on behalf of the incapacitated individual.
An example of where only a Guardian of the Estate would be needed is in the case of a minor receiving monies. This often happens when one parent passes away and designates their minor child as the beneficiary of the policy. Insurance companies are not able to release funds to the minor and therefore often a Guardian of the Estate must be established to receive and oversee those funds.
Annual reports are due to the Court and all monies that come in or out of the estate must be approved by the Court with the goal being to preserve the funds for the minor when they reach age of majority.
How Long does Guardianship Last?
The guardianship process can take several months but there is an alternative if an incapacitated individual is in imminent danger, an application for Temporary Guardianship could be filed. This allows the case to come into Court more quickly and allows for immediate protection of the incapacitated individual if needed.
A Guardianship does not have to be forever. We want a Guardianship to only be in place for as long as the individual remains incapacitated. Annual reports regarding the incapacitated individual are provided to the Court annually and the Guardianship can be modified, and rights can be restored if warranted.
Colette is Certified by the State Bar of Texas
A Guardianship attorney must take a special class and receive a letter of certification from the State Bar of Texas in order to practice Guardianship in Texas Courts. Colette has been practicing in the Guardianship arena in Denton County since 2010 and is well equipped to handle all of your Guardianship needs.
Colette is not only certified by the State Bar of Texas to practice in Guardianship cases, but she has also served as Guardian of the Person and Estate of incapacitated individuals at the request of the Denton County Probate Court.
Having served as an attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate, Colette is uniquely qualified to handle Guardianship cases in Denton County.
Sallas Law represents individuals in Denton County including all Denton County District Courts and in the municipal courts of Denton County cities including Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Aubrey, Corinth, Lake Dallas, Sanger, The Colony, Justin, Krum, Argyle, Hickory Creek, Copper Canyon, Krugerville, and Crossroads.