Dedicated to providing compassionate legal advice with guardianship issues and special needs estate planning to Texas families of children and adults with intellectual, developmental and physical differences.  

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GUARDIANSHIPS

A Guardian is a person who has the legal authority to care for the personal, financial, medical and property interests of another. 

Not only do we walk you through the Guardianship process for your special needs or elderly loved one, we shall also provide advice as to your Guardianship duties pursuant to statutory law, as well as prepare a Declaration of Successor Guardianship.

 

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ALTERNATIVES TO GUARDIANSHIPS

One must keep in mind how restrictive Guardianships are!

In circumstances where a permanent Guardianship may not be needed and your loved one has legal capacity to advise who they wish to make future legal, financial and medical decisions on their behalf, our firm shall advise you and your family as to which proposed Alternatives to Guardianship may best align with your family’s needs.

 

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WILLS & SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS

Developing an estate plan for a Special Needs family member comes with the unique challenge of preserving his or her public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Our office will work diligently with you to create an estate plan that not only protects these important benefits, but reflects your specific instructions as to how your Special Needs loved one should be cared for.

When creating a Guardianship, our firm will outline the rights and powers your Ward will retain, as well as the duties and responsibilities that you as Guardian, are required to comply with.

Our firm understands that each family’s situation is unique – we shall work with you to prepare a comprehensive Guardianship plan that will account for your individual needs.

Our services includes filing an Application for Guardianship, obtaining the proper Citation for the same, communicating with court-appointed attorneys and court personnel, representation at Final Hearing to be sworn-in as Guardian, as well as advise on future duties and responsibilities pursuant to the Texas Estates Code and rendered by the Court, including but not limited to preparing annual reports for the Ward.

Additionally, we shall draft a Declaration of Successor Guardianship so that you can advise as to whom should serve as guardian should you no longer be able to do so.

We also provide services in modifying Guardianships, terminating Guardianships and transferring out-of-state Guardianships under the jurisidiction of Texas.

 
 

Remember - Guardianships are very restrictive.  The Guardianship is established by the Court, and once guardianship is established, you as the Guardian shall be making every life decision for the proposed Ward. 

It is therefore important that clients understand that our firm understands and appreciates the importance of autonomy and agency.   In circumstances where a complete Guardianship may not be needed and your loved one has legal capacity to advise who they wish to make future legal, financial and medical decisions on their behalf, bring them to our office to discuss Alternatives to Guardianships, which includes the following:

^^Durable Power of Attorney - Designates an Agent to make financial or legal decisions for you in the event you can no longer make those decisions

^^Medical Power of Attorney - Designates an individual to make medical decisions for you in the event you can no longer make those decisions

^^HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Release - Designates which individual(s) you wish to have access to your medical information so that your health care provider and/or insurance company have no reservations about sharing your protected medical information with them, especially in the case of an emergency.

^^Advance Directive/Living Will - Not to be confused with a Last Will and Testament, an Advance Directive (or Living Will), designates your  wishes in the event you are in a terminal or irreversible medical condition.

^^Supported Decision Making Agreement - An incredible self-advocacy tool in which an individual with intellectual and/or developmental differences designates a person or persons to provide support in decision-making regarding finances, health, education and employment. 

^^Declaration for Mental Health Treatment - Designates an individual's instructions to specific mental health treatment in the future such as agreeing or refusing to take psychoactive medications or electroconvulsive treatment. 

Our firm shall advise you and your family as to which proposed Alternatives to Guardianship may best align with your family’s needs.


It is imperative that parents create estate plans for their children after they pass on.  For a parent of a special needs child however, estate planning is an absolute must. 

If you want to leave money or property to a loved one with a disability, you must plan carefully or you could otherwise jeopardize his or her ability to receive public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

By placing money or property into a Special Needs Trust (rather than giving it to your loved one directly) preserves his eligibility for public benefits, as well as outlines instructions to caregivers, etc.  A Special Needs Trust can be Testamentary (a gift that take effect upon death of the "Trustor" or creator of the Trust) or drafted as an Inter Vivos  (a gift made during one's lifetime).

Moreover, there are three different types of Special Needs Trust: First-Party Trust, Third-Party Trust and Pooled Trusts.  Our firm shall advise as to which Trust instrument is best for your family needs, prepare and draft the same, as well as advise as to how the Trust must be administered.