Texas Guardianship Certification Board: A Shift in Guardianship Law
In 2005, the Texas Legislature passed legislation that created the Guardianship Certification Board, which served as a branch of the Texas Supreme Court. Comprised of 15 members (11 appointed by the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court and 4 appointed by the Governor of Texas), the Board was charged with the task of developing and implementing certification requirements for “private, professional guardians.”
As a result of this legislation, guardians in Texas who were in the business of providing guardianship services were required, for the first time ever, to be certified by the State. This certification requirement signified a significant shift in guardianship law in Texas.
As a part of the Guardianship Certification Board's responsibilities, the Board drafted Rules and Standards by which guardians were certified and administered the guardianship certification examination. The Board was also responsible for reviewing any complaints filed against a certified guardian, determining the legitimacy of the complaints, and either dismissing them or taking appropriate action to remedy the problems.
The creation of the Board and certification process for guardians represented a very significant development in guardianship in Texas. Few other states in the U.S. had adopted similar rules and standards, but many states began to look at these issues.
The Judicial Branch Certification Commission Replaces the GCB
In 2014, the Guardianship Certification Board responsibilities were taken over by the Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC), created by Senate Bill 966 in the 83rd Legislative Session. The JBCC was created to improve government efficiency and consistency across the regulated judicial professions. The 9-member JBCC combined the certification, registration, licensing and compliance functions for court reporters, process servers, licensed court interpreters, and guardians in Texas.
Attorney Don D. Ford is the only non-judge guardianship expert serving on the JBCC.
Ford + Bergner's Don D. Ford III an Inaugural Member of the JBCC
When the JBCC replaced the GCB, the Supreme Court of Texas appointed 9 members to serve staggered terms on the Commission. Ford + Bergner Managing Partner Don D. Ford III was among them.
Prior to becoming a JBCC Commissioner, Mr. Ford served on the GCB from the time of its creation in 2006 until the GCB rolled into the JBCC in 2014. Mr. Ford was appointed to both the GCB and the JBCC by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.
During the inaugural meeting of the GCB, Mr. Ford was elected to Chair the Rules Committee, which developed the Rules by which guardians were certified. Having expertise in Texas guardianship law, Mr. Ford was integrally involved in educating lawyers and judges about the effects of the new Rules. He addressed both the Texas College of Probate Judges and the Texas Guardianship Association to present the Rules and explain their significance and effect.
JBCC Brings More Changes in Texas Guardianship Law
Continuing the work of the GCB, the JBCC has made additional changes to the State’s Guardianship Law. As of June 1, 2018, anyone who wants to serve as a guardian in Texas must register online with the JBCC. Guardianship registration is required for:
- A court-appointed family member or friend
- A proposed guardian seeking appointment
- An attorney representing a guardian
Guardians and proposed guardians must also complete guardianship training and a criminal history background check through JBCC at least 10 days prior to the hearing on the guardianship application. Registration and training are free of charge, and information can be entered by the guardian or his or her attorney.
When registering a guardianship, training and criminal history check are not required of attorneys, certified guardians and corporate fiduciaries, or of guardians appointed prior to June 1, 2018.
Do I Need Certification to Serve as a Guardian?
If you are a family member or friend wanting to serve as guardian, then you are not required to be certified as a private, professional guardian. However, all guardians who are not lawyers must register through the JBCC and receive the required training before being appointed as a guardian.
Private, professional guardians who will be compensated for serving must meet eligibility requirements and pass a state-approved exam to become certified. View information about initial guardianship certification at the JBCC.
I Want to Become a Legal Guardian. Can You Help?
Ford + Bergner attorneys welcome the opportunity to assist you in obtaining guardianship of a loved one. Whether you have questions about the guardianship process in Texas or are ready to take the first step in becoming a legal guardian, we invite you to contact us now to schedule a free phone consultation.