Because guardianship takes away a person’s rights, there are alternatives to Texas guardianship that should be considered.
Texas Guardianship Alternatives
Because guardianship takes away a person’s rights, the Texas courts will look for a less restrictive alternative before granting a guardianship. Less restrictive alternatives include the following:
Volunteer money management programs offer a less restrictive alternative to guardianships for low-income elderly and adults with disabilities who are incapable of managing their checking accounts themselves and have no one else available or appropriate to assist them.
The Purpose of these programs is:
- to promote and prolong independent living for individuals who are at risk of losing their independence due to an inability to manage a checking account, and
- to prevent financial abuse, neglect and exploitation of those individuals.
This is accomplished through the use of volunteers who serve as:
- Bill Payers: provide budget set-up, checkbook balancing, bill paying assistance each month; or
- Representative Payees: provide budget set-up, checkbook balancing, bill paying assistance each month, have signature authority for government benefits and are designated by one of the following federal agencies to manage a client’s government benefits:
a. Social Security Administration,
b. Veterans Administration,
c. Railroad Retirement,
d. Office of Personnel Management.
The following safeguards are built into most volunteer money management programs in an effort to protect clients:
- Insurance coverage for client’s funds, volunteers and agencies;
- Criminal background checks on all volunteers and staff;
- Monitoring of bank accounts;
- Monitoring of local programs;
- Technical assistance to local programs, and
- Volunteer supervision and support.
This program is intended for those who have no other source of assistance. A volunteer money manager must sign a conflict of interest statement and does not make any decisions about or give advice regarding property or investments.