Guardianship Program

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Guardianship is a legal process, and should be used only as a last resort. Guardianship clients have severe memory loss, dementia, and cognitive impairments that seriously jeopardize their health and well-being. Many clients have experienced self-neglect, physical abuse and/or financial exploitation. A guardian is appointed only when it has been determined that the client lacks decision-making capacity and must have a surrogate decision-maker appointed to advocate for services and give informed consent for medical procedures.


Guardianship clients must be adult residents of Tarrant County who have been adjudicated, incapacitated, and in need of a guardian. They must meet the Texas Probate Code definition of incapacity. GSI is appointed only when there is no family member or friend willing, able, or suitable to serve.

Decision-Making Principles

As guardian, GSI follows two basic decision-making principles.

Substituted Judgment: The case manager’s goal is to discover what the client would have wanted if he or she had capacity and could have communicated that decision. If possible, GSI then carries out the client’s wishes.

Best Interest: When it is impossible to learn what a client would want, GSI evaluates the risks and benefits of a course of action and decides what would best serve the client.

Applying these principles ensures that GSI preserves clients’ rights and preferences, while protecting them from abuse, neglect or exploitation.