Guardianship Glossary

Agent – One who has permission to act.

Attorney Ad Litem – A lawyer appointed by the court to represent the proposed ward during the guardianship proceedings. The AAL advocate for the proposed ward’s wishes and desires.

Bond – An insurance policy required by the court in an amount set by the judge to cover the assets of the estate.

Clear and Convincing – Evidence or proof that the facts asserted are highly probable. A higher standard than a preponderance of the evidence, but a lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Conservatee – A minor being protected.

Conservator – Legally appointed protector; preserver of a minor.

Conservatorship – A legal relationship between the conservator and the conservatee.

Durable Power of Attorney – A document executed authorizing another person to act as agent which continues in effect upon the onset of incapacity of the principal.

Elderly – A person who is age 60 and over.

Estate – Both real and personal, tangible and intangible, and includes anything that may be the subject of ownership.

Fiduciary – A person or entity to whom property management or other responsibility is entrusted.

Guardian – A person who is appointed by the probate court to protect the property and/or person of one who does not have capacity to protect his or her own interests.

Guardian Ad Litem – A disinterested person who is appointed by the court on behalf of the ward to represent the ward’s best interest.

Guardian of the Estate – A guardian who possesses any or all powers and rights with regard to the property of an individual.

Guardian of the Person – A person who is responsible for and who advocates for the health, well-being and personal needs of the ward.

Guardian of the Person and Estate – A person who acts in both capacities for a ward.

Incapacitated Person – An adult who, because of physical or mental conditioning, is substantially unable to feed, clothe or shelter himself/herself, to care for his/her physical health, or to manage his/her financial affairs.

Letter of Guardianship – An official letter issued by the County Clerk’s office which is written evidence of the appointment of a guardian and the authority of the guardian to act for the ward.

Oath – A sworn, written statement made by the guardian in which he or she swears to fulfill his or her obligations.

Payee – A person who receives and disburses the ward’s social security income or SSI outside of the jurisdiction of the court. These funds are monitored by the Social Security Administration. A person may also serve as payee for Veteran’s and Railroad Retirement benefits.

Personal Surety Bond – Bond executed by a guardian and two persons (sureties) willing to vouch for the guardian that allows the court to seek restitution from the guardian or sureties if the guardian does not perform his or her duties.

Principal – The person from whom an agent’s authority is derived.

Probable Cause – A reasonable ground for supposing that an allegation is true; more evidence for than against.

Probate – Matter relating to or involving guardianship, the probate of a will, the estate of a decedent, or a trust.

Probate Court – Court with statutory authority to hear probate matters.

Statutory Probate Court – Texas Courts with authority to hear only probate matters. These courts are created by statute and are found in the most densely populated counties in Texas.

Surrogate – One substituted for or appointed to act in place of another.

Testator – A person who dies leaving a will.

Trust – A legal method used to manage and distribute property without a guardianship.

Ward – An incapacitated person who has been placed in the care, custody and supervision of a guardian.

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