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San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2009, Paul Premack
November 24, 1989

*Selecting Your Own Guardian Protects Your Interests*

While you are healthy, you may choose someone to become your Guardian should you ever need a Guardian in the future. This gives you control over your own future guardianship.

A "Declaration of Guardian" may be made by a competent adult. It must be written, signed, and witnessed by two people. The person chosen as Guardian cannot witness. The Declaration must be notarized.

You may also "disqualify" any person from ever being your guardian under any circumstances. This protects you from people you may want to avoid, like former spouses. If you name your spouse as Guardian but later get divorced, he or she is automatically disqualified.

The Declaration must have a "self-proving affidavit" to allow a Judge to accept your choices. The affidavit is proof that you were competent at the time you signed the Declaration and that the Guardian will act in your "best interest".

Some people are disqualified by state law from acting as your guardian. Read more on disqualification by clicking here.

You do not need to file the Declaration with the Court in advance; however, the person you chose as Guardian will need to file it when he or she goes to court to become your guardian (when the need arises for a guardian). Keep the original in a safe place, and let your intended Guardian know about it.

Your Declaration should list a first choice for Guardian and several back-ups. If the first choice is not available when needed, the alternates will be in line to replace the first choice. A Declaration of Guardian may be revoked by tearing it up, or by making a new declaration that supersedes the old one.

Prior Column: Durable Power of Attorney
Next Column: Divorce Invalidates Certain Will Provisions

Disclaimer: This column answers a specific legal question asked by an individual in Texas. The answer may or may not match your individual situation. Be careful not to treat this column as specific legal advice, as it may not meet your individual needs. It may give you a solid basis for discussion with your own attorney.  You should consult with your personal attorney before you take any action on this or any legal issue. Also, please be aware that laws change, so  this column is valid only as of the date it was published. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.


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