Special Needs Guardianship
This article is intended for educational purposes only and not as legal advice. Should you require legal advice for
your matter, please consult a Houston Special Needs Guardianship Attorney.
The legal relationship between you and your child changes as soon as they turn 18. At age 18 and regardless of their abilities, your child is presumed to have the ability to make legal, medical and financial decisions on their own. This is usually not in your child’s best interest and it’s important that you know your legal options when it comes to protecting your special needs child.
Importance of Special Needs Guardianship:
Special Needs Guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a relationship is created between a competent adult (“Guardian”) and a person who does not have capacity to take care of his or her own self and affairs (“Ward”). Once appointed by the Court, a Guardian is authorized to make all healthcare, residential and other decisions (Guardian of the Person) and all financial and legal decisions for the Ward (Guardian of the Estate).
Some children are partially incapacitated and can manage some but not all of the areas in their lives. For these children, a partial guardianship may be warranted and a Guardian appointed for the areas of weakness.
Special Needs Guardianship Process:
In Texas, the special needs guardianship process usually begins with a petition that is filed with the appropriate Court in the county in which the child resides. The petition is accompanied by detailed medical evidence of your child’s incapacity (usually by way of Report). Various parties are required to be notified of the proceeding and the Court may appoint a Court Investigator to investigate the circumstances of the guardianship. Your child will be entitled to legal representation and the Court will also appoint an attorney to represent your child during the proceeding. A hearing will be held and a guardian appointed if it is determined to be in your child’s best interest.
Court Duties and Reporting:
Annual Reporting is required for Guardianship of the Person. Annual Accounting and Court approval for most financial decisions are required for Guardianship of the Estate.