Last week's blog post addressed the eligibility of an individual to serve as the guardian of another person. Once a person has demonstrated to the Court that he or she is eligible to serve, and the Judge has granted the request to be appointed, the next step is for the proposed Guardian to "qualify". This is a legal process, with two essential steps. Failure to qualify will result in the person having no legal rights to function as guardian, despite the Judge's willingness to appoint the person as guardian. Today's blog post will summarize these important steps for qualification.
The first step for qualification is to take and file an Oath. The Oath is a legal form signed by the guardian under oath and subject to penalties of perjury, that he or she will faithfully discharge the duties of guardian. The oath is administered by a notary or deputy clerk of the Court immediately following the hearing.
At the time of hearing, the Judge will set a bond amount, which the guardian is required to post before being issued Letters of Guardianship. Bond is not required if the guardian is a corporate fiduciary or guardianship program operated by a county. Bond may be waived by the Court if the guardian is qualified and the proposed guardian is named in a Will made by a surviving parent that is probated by a Texas court, or in a written declaration made by a surviving parent, and the will or declaration directs that the guardian serve without bond. The Court may not waive the requirement of a bond if the person is to be appointed as guardian of the estate in addition to guardian of the person.
The bond may be a corporate surety bond, personal surety bond, cash deposit or personal bond. Which of these options is best generally depends on the amount of the bond set by the Court and the guardian's financial circumstances.
In determining the amount of the bond, the Judge will consider (1) the familial relationship between the guardian and the ward; (2) the guardian's ties to the community; (3) the guardian's financial condition; (4) the guardian's past history of compliance with the court; and (5) if applicable, the reason the guardian may have been previously denied a corporate surety bond.
If your family member is facing the necessity of a guardian, you need a complete understanding of the requirements for qualification of a guardian. Christiansen Law Firm has assisted many families in guardianship proceedings. For additional information about the legal requirements applied to your specific circumstances, contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.