S.B. No. 586


Bill Description

Governor Bush signed SB 586 on June 19, 1997. SB 586 becomes effective September 1, 1997.

SB 586 establishes the "Guardianship Advisory Board," which will advise the Health and Human Services Commission regarding (1) setting minimum standards for guardianship programs, volunteer guardians and private professional guardians and (2) developing and, "subject to appropriations," implementing a plan to ensure that each incapacitated individual in the state who needs a guardianship or other assistance receives that assistance and to foster the establishment and growth of local volunteer guardianship programs.

SB 586 provides that the statutory probate judges will appoint the members of the advisory board (with the first board being appointed no later than December 1, 1997).

Here's what the House Human Services Committee Report says about SB 586:

Currently, local guardianship programs in certain areas of the state have successfully recruited volunteers to become guardians and protect the interest of mentally incapacitated adults in Texas. Many mentally incapacitated adults in Texas have no one to serve as their guardian and take responsibility for important life decisions since certain areas of the state are without such programs. This bill would create and establish guidelines for the Guardianship Advisory Board to advise the Health and Human Services Commission in adopting minimum standards for the provision of guardianship and related services and in the development and implementation of a plan to ensure that each incapacitated individual in this state who needs a guardianship or another less restrictive type of assistance receives that assistance.

As originally proposed, SB 586 would have required all attorneys representing parties in guardianship proceedings (not just attorneys ad litem) to take the 4-hour certification course now required only of attorneys ad litem. This requirement was deleted, and the law on this point remains the same. Unfortunately (at least from my perspective as someone who is certified as an attorney ad litem), part of what was deleted from SB 586 was a provision that would have permitted recertifications to last for four years, not just two years as current law applies. Thus, persons wishing to maintain attorney ad litem certification will still have to retake the course every two years.

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Copyright © 1997 by Glenn M. Karisch. This page was last revised on June 23, 1997.