Guardianship in Texas – An uphill climb

Starting September 1st, things are different for Texas seniors and their families. For those struggling with a loved one with any number of diagnosed, or undiagnosed, mental deficiencies, Texas just became a more difficult place to protect your loved one. The reason for this change is well meaning, a movement towards using less restrictive more empowering solutions. But, for those who need to restrict the ability of an otherwise seemingly competent person from giving away the farm, we are entering a difficult period.

The reason for this opinion is that at the same time that Texas has made it more difficult for families to run down to the Probate Court and effectively restrict Mom’s ability to make gifts and transfers, another arm of the State, HHSC, will still view Mom’s gifts and transfers made to family members over the past 60 months as suspect and subject to penalties.

The family is going to have to fill the gap created between these two problems. They are going to have to act earlier, speak up sooner, be more involved. They are going to have to be advocates with their parents, not just for their parents. At first few of the State’s lawyers will have taken the mandatory continuing legal education to enable them to appear in Guardianship proceedings. Moreover, it will take time for people in general to learn about alternative strategies to Guardianship. For certain, Guardianship remains an important protective tool. But it is becoming one that is only for use by experts.

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