Guardianship is meant to provide for a person who is otherwise incapable of managing his or her care and/or financial affairs; however, the extent of the guardianship will be tailored to permit the person in need of the guardianship to exercise his or her rights and decision making authority to the extent to which he or she is able. A legal guardian is an individual (and, in some cases, individuals) who is appointed to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. To understand what powers a guardian has, a review of the order appointing a particular guardian is critical. A guardian's powers typically include:
- Ensuring that the incapacitated individual's medical, psychological, emotional, and even educational needs are met;
- Managing and preserving the incapacitated individual's financial assets; and
- Filing all appropriate reports and accounts required.
The powers of a guardian are also accompanied by duties such as providing food, clothing, and shelter, and more generally, making decisions that are in line with what is the ward's best interests, though many jurisdictions are considering to a standard that would take into consideration the preferences and values of the ward. This concept is also known as substituted judgment. Texas has not adopted such a standard.
Understanding the role of a guardian along with those powers and duties that are involved are critical in assuming the role of guardian.