Emergency Guardianship in Texas

Temporary Guardianship in Texas

Sometimes situations arise in which a person becomes a danger to self or others, and the legal system must intervene. Sudden illness such as a stroke or illness may incapacitate a person. Or perhaps the ability to responsibly care for others or oneself diminishes over time due to dementia, substance abuse, or mental illness. When a person is an immediate danger to self or others, appointing an emergency guardian may be the answer.

Temporary Guardianship

While people may think of the process as emergency guardianship, the legal term is temporary guardianship. It is a way to quickly assist the person in need of help and/or protection, legally known as the ward. In order to begin the process, the proposed guardian must complete and file an “Application of Temporary Guardian,” pleading that “the danger to the person and property of Proposed Ward requires immediate action.” Next there is a hearing before a judge who determines at that time whether or not a temporary guardianship is necessary.

The results may be fairly swift, but the guardianship itself is temporary. It offers a safe place for the ward, while at the same time providing parties the opportunity to discern the full extent of the problem and all available options. Appointing a guardian means that another person is losing rights and/or authority in a situation, so it is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ideally before applying for temporary guardianship, the proposed guardian has exhausted other options, such as outside help with household responsibilities, medical decisions and care, or community outreach services

Following is the statute for Temporary Guardianship:

Effective: January 1, 2014

V.T.C.A., Estates Code § 1251.001

Formerly cited as TX PROBATE § 875(a), (b)

1251.001. Appointment of Temporary Guardian


(a) A court shall appoint a temporary guardian, with limited powers as the circumstances of the case require, if the court:

(1) is presented with substantial evidence that a person may be an incapacitated person; and

(2) has probable cause to believe that the person, the person's estate, or both require the immediate appointment of a guardian.

(b) The person for whom a temporary guardian is appointed under this chapter retains all rights and powers that are not specifically granted to the person's temporary guardian by court order.

When someone is in danger, clear thinking and quick action are essential. Working with an experienced probate attorney provides the perspective and expertise necessary to swiftly provide the best possible outcome in a challenging situation.

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