A guardianship is a court-supervised proceeding in which a person is appointed as the guardian to manage and care for the personal and financial needs of either a minor or an incapacitated person.  In Texas, there are two types of guardianship:  1) of the person and 2) of the estate.  The court may appoint the same person to serve in both roles, or may appoint different people.

A guardian of the person is responsible for the health care and personal decisions of the incapacitated person.  Each year a guardian of the person is required to report to the court on the personal well-being of the ward.  A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the finances of the incapacitated person.  All financial decisions, including the development of an investment plan and payment of expenses on behalf the ward must be approved by the court.  A guardian of the estate must prepare and submit to the court for approval an annual account of the ward’s estate each year.


Guardianships result in a declaration of the court of the incapacity of the ward.  This means in most circumstances that the ward is no longer able to vote, drive a car, get married and make other personal and financial decisions.  Additionally, the costs associated with a guardianship can be substantial.  While appropriate in some circumstances, a guardianship is an extreme measure that should only be pursued after other options have been exhausted.

The preparation of estate planning documents, such as a financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney, may prevent the need for a guardianship.  Additionally, a trust may be utilized to prevent the need for a guardian of the estate.