This part of a 3 part series answering frequently asked questions about alternatives to Texas guardianship.

I was told I need a guardianship for my loved one. Are there any alternatives?

A guardianship may be the only way to care for the person or property of a minor or an incapacitated person, but often there are less costly, less burdensome alternatives. Determining the best solution depends on the circumstances. Your lawyer can advise you what is best in your situation.

What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a court-supervised administration for a minor or for an incapacitated person. A person — called the guardian — is appointed by a court to care for the person and/or property of the minor or incapacitated person — called the ward. There are two types of guardians and guardianships. A guardian appointed to take care of the physical well-being of a ward is called a guardian of the person, while a guardian appointed to take care of the ward’s property is called a guardian of the estate. In some cases, only one type of guardian is appointed for a particular ward. In many cases, both a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate is appointed for a ward. (Often, but not always, they are the same person.) For more information about guardianships in general, click here for frequently asked questions about guardianships.

Do I have to be appointed guardian for my minor child?

In most cases, parents are considered to be the natural guardians of the person of their minor children, so no court procedure is required to appoint a guardian of the person. Even though a parent may be the natural guardian of the person of their minor child, they are not natural guardian of the estate — a court proceeding is always required to become guardian of the estate. If the child has property or income, in some cases provisions of the Family Code may permit guardianship of the estate to be avoided. For example, parents have certain rights to the income of their minor child, and a managing conservator has certain rights regarding the child’s property. In many cases, however, a guardian of the estate will be required if the minor has property. You should consult a lawyer for an evaluation of your particular fact situation and advice which is appropriate for you.