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What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal process used to provide protection for adults who are incapacitated, as defined by the Texas Probate Code. The Probate Code defines an incapacitated person as: "An adult individual who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter to himself or herself, to care for the individual's own physical health, or to manage the individual's own financial affairs."

A guardian is a court-appointed person or entity (such as a state agency) that makes decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person. Chapter 13 of the Texas Probate Code defines the purpose, laws and responsibilities of a guardian. Depending upon the powers granted by the court, guardianship responsibilities include, but are not limited to,

  • Providing care, supervision, and protection for incapacitated persons who qualify for guardianship services under the laws of the state of Texas;
  • Arranging for services, including medical, mental health and/or services to persons with intellectual disabilities, for these persons under guardianship that qualify for such services;
  • Arranging for placement in facilities, such as long-term care facilities, hospitals or foster homes;
  • Managing estates; and
  • Making medical decisions.

 The DADS Guardianship Services Program provides guardianship services, either directly or through contracts with local guardianship programs, to individuals referred to the program by either the Adult Protective Services (APS) or Child Protective Services (CPS) Divisions of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

These services include:

  • Performing an assessment to determine if the individual has diminished capacity,
  • Identifying less restrictive alternatives to guardianship, and
  • Seeking to identify other individuals or organizations that are willing, able, and appropriate to serve as guardian.

When all least restrictive options have been exhausted and no family member, interested party, or alternate guardian is available, DADS may file an application in a court with probate jurisdiction to be appointed as guardian as defined in Section 161.101 of the Texas Human Resource Code. A proposed ward must have resources to fund long-term care and be otherwise appropriate for DADS guardianship services.

For more information, please call 512-438-3739.

About the DADS Guardianship Program

Guardianship Services is a section within the Access and Intake Division of the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).

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Updated: August 28, 2014