Guardians are people who have legal authority to make decisions for those who are under 18 or adults who do not have the ability to make decisions for themselves.
There are two types of guardianships under Texas law. A guardian of the person can make decisions about a protected person’s healthcare, living arrangements and other personal needs, even when these decisions involve life and death.
A guardian of the estate manages a protected person’s finances and property.
In practice, the same person often acts as both the guardian of the person and the estate for their loved one. At a high level, the responsibility of the guardian is to make sure they exercise their decision-making powers in a way that serves the person they are protecting.
Guardians have detailed responsibilities to their loved one and to the court
Legally, guardians have a lot of responsibilities to correspond with their powers.
Residents of Wise County and the surrounding areas who either are or may be guardians may find the Code of Ethics for Texas certified guardians helpful.
This Code of Ethics highlights many of a guardian’s most important responsibilities:
- As fiduciaries, they must show utmost loyalty to the protected person and act in their best interests. They may not allow self-interest or other personal or professional conflicts to interfere with their judgment.
- They must respect the protect person’s independence as much as possible.
- They must make informed decisions about managing the person’s care and finances. This means that they need to do the necessary investigation and research to make sure that their decision about the person’s care and finances are sound. This does not mean that guardians must be right all the time, but they do have to take the proper steps to ensure they make good decisions.
- They must follow the law and the rules and orders of the court. This includes keeping the court informed and, if called for, asking for a change in the guardianship.
Although helpful, the code is not a substitute for a guardian’s knowing the law and understanding their legal obligations and alternatives as they go about their duties.