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Texas law has very specific procedures in place for proving the need for a guardianship and getting a guardian appointed. These procedures are too complicated for a lay person to undertake without a lawyer's help, and most courts will not entertain guardianship applications filed by non-lawyers. The court will appoint an attorney -- called an attorney ad litem -- to represent the proposed ward, since the granting of a guardianship takes away some of the ward's civil rights. Texas courts typically employ the doctrine of least restrictive alternatives in guardianship cases -- taking away as few of the ward's rights as possible and giving the guardian only those rights and powers as is necessary to protect the ward or the ward's property. If the court decides that a guardian is needed, Texas law provides a priority list for choosing the guardian. If the ward is a minor, the following persons have priority in the following order: parents; the person designated by the last surviving parent of the ward in a properly executed designation of guardian; the nearest ascendant in the direct line of the minor (ascendants are grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.); next of kin; and a non-relative. If more than one person of the same priority wishes to be guardian, the court chooses the one who is best qualified to serve. In considering priority, it is important to note that the court has the authority to skip over a person higher on the priority list if the court finds that person to be ineligible. A person is disqualified and ineligible to be appointed guardian if he or she is a minor; a person whose conduct is notoriously bad; an incapacitated person; a person who has certain conflicts of interest with the ward; a person who, because of inexperience, lack of education, or other good reason, is incapable of properly and prudently managing and controlling the ward or the ward's estate; a person found unsuitable by the court; a person specifically disqualified from serving as guardian by the ward prior to his or her incapacity in a properly executed designation of guardian; and a person who is not a resident of Texas and who has not designated an agent in Texas for service of process. If the stepson is ward of the state then you should be able to get a guardianship especially if no one else is stepping up.
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