How to serve process in guardianship proceedings

Let’s say your dad is getting more and more forgetful. He has had several car accidents over the past year. He takes a number of prescription medications, but when asked if he has taken his medications and the dosage, he cannot give details of his medications. It may be time for guardianship proceedings. If so, how to serve the process in this guardianship proceeding may be an issue.

The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion on March 4, 2022 regarding the unique issues of service of process in guardianship cases in In the guardianship of James E. Fairley. Mauricette Fairley filled the role of guardian for her husband for the last three years of his life. Mr Fairley’s daughter Juliette asked the Texas Supreme Court ‘to set aside all orders made in the wardship proceedings because the proposed ward, her now deceased father, was personally served by a bailiff’. Juliette argues that the probate court lacked jurisdiction over issues relating to her father’s guardianship, claiming that “Probate Code Chapter 1051 requires that a proposed ward in Texas be personally served by a sheriff, constable police or another elected official.

Jon J. Epps