In 2005, the Texas Legislature passed legislation that created the Guardianship Certification Board. The Board serves as a branch of the Texas Supreme Court, and it is 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 is charged with the task of developing and implementing certification requirements for “private, professional guardians.” As a result of this legislation, guardians in Texas who receive compensation for serving as guardians will be required to be certified by the State to serve in these roles. This certification requirement signifies a significant shift in guardianship law in Texas.

Under the current legislation, the following individuals or institutions are exempt from having to be certified:

  1. Family members of the Ward;
  2. Friends of the Ward;
  3. Attorneys; and
  4. Financial institutions.

As a result of the legislation, any guardian who is required to be certified will be required to pass a written examination and will also be required to meet certain educational and work experience requirements in order to receive their certification from the Board. Thereafter, guardians will be required to complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain their certification.

As a part of the Guardianship Certification Board’s responsibilities, the Board is responsible for drafting Rules and Standards by which guardians will be certified. Likewise, the Board is required to administer the examination that will determine a guardian’s qualification to be certified. Finally, the Board will be responsible for reviewing any complaints filed against a certified guardian. Upon review of any such complaints, the Board will determine the legitimacy of the complaint and either dismiss it or take appropriate action to remedy the problem, if one exists.

The creation of the Board and the certification process for guardians represents a very significant new development in guardianships in Texas, and it foreshadows changes that we can expect to see across the entire United States in coming years. Few other states in the U.S. have adopted similar rules and standards, but many other states are beginning to look at these issues.

Ford+Bergner LLP is proud that Managing Partner, Don Ford, has been appointed by the Supreme Court to serve on the Board. Since being appointed, Mr. Ford has been elected to Chair the Rules Committee, which developed the Rules by which guardians will be certified. Additionally, Mr. Ford has been integrally involved in educating lawyer and judges about the effects of the new rules. He has recently addressed both the Texas College of Probate Judges and also the Texas Guardianship Association to present the Rules and explain their significance and effect.

We include a discussion of the Guardianship Certification Board on our website because of its new impact on guardians in Texas and because we recognize that some of our clients and prospective clients may be subject to the Board’s Rules. For the full text of the Rules and Standards, we provide this link to the Guardianship Certification Board website, which contains both documents.