The regular session of the Texas Legislature concluded on May 31, 2017. During the 5-month session, several bills were introduced that addressed guardianship issues. F+B Partner Don Ford was very active in this year’s legislative session. Prior to the session, Mr. Ford was asked to collaborate with senators regarding potential guardianship improvements. His suggestions resulted in the introduction of several guardianship bills, and at least one of those bills was adopted fully by the Legislature and the Governor. Mr. Ford was invited to testify at the Senate regarding a couple of the bills that he suggested, which resulted in him appearing before legislative committees multiple times during the session.
Additionally, Mr. Ford was active in working to defeat a bill that would have unfairly required litigants in contested probate and guardianship cases in small counties to personally pay for the fees of the judge assigned to their case. This proposed legislation would have unfairly prejudiced these litigants and made it more difficult for them to have their cases decided by competent judges in these smaller counties. Mr. Ford worked closely with a wide variety of parties interested in the issue, including legislators, judges, and other lawyers who were all opposed to the proposed legislation.
In Texas, the Legislature meets from January through May of every odd year. During the session, considerable numbers of bills are introduced on a wide variety of topics. In the last several years, significant attention has been given to the topic of guardianships for elderly incapacitated individuals. This year’s session was no different.
In addition to the bills that Mr. Ford worked on this session, the Legislature and the governor adopted a number of bills that impact probate and guardianship cases. Look for those bills to take effect on September 1, 2017.