If you follow pop culture, you may know that a California court appointed a guardian of the person and estate for Britney Spears several years ago. (Guardians in California are referred to as “conservators.”) Since that time, Ms. Spears’ father has been serving as her guardian to make financial, medical, and other personal decisions on her behalf. Recently, Ms. Spears’ attorney asked the Court to modify her guardianship to allow for her fiancé, in lieu of her father, to serve as the guardian of her person to make her medical and personal decisions. The Court obliged, and now Ms. Spears’ father will continue to serve as the guardian of her estate, while her fiancé will step in to serve as the guardian of her person. It’s hard to blame a soon-to-be-married person for wanting her spouse to be responsible for making medical and residential decisions when she can not otherwise do so. Navigating the in-law relationship is difficult enough, but imagine the awkwardness of having your wife’s father responsible for deciding where she can live and where she can go.
Texas law also provides mechanisms for modifying guardianships. A Texas guardianship may be modified not only to allow for a new person to be appointed to serve as an incapacitated person’s guardian, but the guardianship may also be modified to partially or completely restore a person’s capacity or to expand a guardian’s authority for making decisions on another’s behalf. While modifying a guardianship may be easier said than done, Texas law does provide for some flexibility when changes are necessary and are in the best interest of an incapacitated person or her estate.