Unfortunately, because guardianship cases typically involve the care of a family member or loved one, the various members of that person’s family who all want the best for their loved one many times end up fighting over the best manner for providing care. In those cases, litigation frequently arises in the context of a guardianship case in Texas.
Litigation in guardianship cases typically arises out of the question of who is the most appropriate person to serve as the guardian. In some cases, litigation arises after a guardian has been appointed as a result of allegations that the guardian has neglected the Ward, stolen the Ward’s money, or something like that.
Because of the very personal nature of guardianship cases, guardianship litigation is always highly emotional and very difficult. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, the Ward’s best interest is forgotten as the family fights over who should be allowed to be the guardian.
The Texas Probate Code says that “any interested person” may participate in a guardianship proceeding, question acts of the guardian, and ask the Court to force accountability of the guardian. Likewise, the Probate Code lays out very specific guidelines for what guardians can and cannot do in the context of a guardianship. Anytime that a guardian fails to do something that is required of him, any of the people interested in the Ward’s person or estate can ask the Court to force the guardian to comply with the requirements. However, such action generally involves litigation.
Once litigation is initiated in a guardianship proceeding, most probate courts will appoint an attorney ad litem, who is an independent attorney appointed to represent the Ward in the litigation. Essentially, it is this attorney’s responsibility to ensure that the Ward’s interests are represented, even in spite of the fact that the family members may be fighting to determine what the Ward’s best interest might be. Additionally, the Court may sometimes appoint a guardian ad litem, who is another independent attorney appointed by the Court to investigate and determine what the best interest of the Ward may be. This attorney will typically be asked to make a recommendation to the Court as to the best interest and best course of action for the Ward.
Unfortunately, many attorneys in Texas do not fully understand the various issues involved in guardianship litigation, and many do not adequately understand the roles of the attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem in the guardianship process. As a result, we have seen cases across the state of Texas where the rights of either the Ward or one of the parties has been significantly abridged as a result of the failure of the attorneys to understand everything involved in the case.
The attorneys at Ford+Bergner LLP have worked on guardianship litigation cases all across the state of Texas. We have experience in a variety of guardianship cases, and we are keenly aware of the issues presented in these cases. If you or a loved one finds yourself in need of a guardianship attorney, please contact an attorney who has experience in this area, as the issues involved can seriously impact the lives of everyone involved. We would be glad to assist you in a case of this nature or answer any questions that you might have.