Court Process for Guardianships


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Most guardianship cases are initiated when a family member or friend hires an attorney to file an application for guardianship. When no family member or friend is available to apply, agency staff members, hospitals and other service providers may submit information to begin the court-initiated guardianship process. Tarrant County Probate Judges require that referral sources complete a “Suggestion of Need for a Guardian” and have a doctor submit a “Certificate of Medical Examination.” These forms are available from the Tarrant County Probate Court, 817-884-2189 or 817-884-3395.

The Probate Judge will appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the allegedly incapacitated person’s wishes and protect his or her rights. The client must be personally served with notice that guardianship proceedings have been initiated. The Probate Code requires that a guardianship hearing be held no sooner than the Monday following the expiration of a ten-day waiting period that begins when the potential ward has been served with notice and citation. If a proposed ward or estate is in immediate danger, a temporary guardianship may be established. This does not have the same waiting period requirements.

Court investigators and the guardian ad litem investigate the need for guardianship and make recommendations to the court regarding who should be appointed as guardian. If it is determined that guardianship is needed and that GSI is the only entity appropriate to serve, a member of the court staff or the guardian ad litem will refer the case to GSI.