A recent high-profile guardianship proceeding has captured the attention of Houston and has shed light on the intricacies and potential legal pitfalls of one subject to a guardianship matter. The unfolding drama has not only underscored the importance of understanding guardianship laws but has also prompted a crucial conversation about how individuals can proactively navigate these complexities to prevent legal turmoil for their loved ones (and themselves).
Guardianship matters involve significant decisions that impact the lives and well-being of individuals that have been deemed unable to manage their personal and financial affairs independently. Our goal is to inform you of what guardianship matters consist of and educate you about what you can do to prevent you and your loved ones from being subjected to public court proceedings. If you find yourself or your loved one in need of guardianship, an experienced guardianship attorney is someone to visit with to discuss the options that may be available in your circumstances.
On November 27, 2023, Robert Cary McNair, Jr. (“Cary”) filed an Application for Appointment of Permanent Guardian of the Person and Estate for his mother, Janice S. McNair. Janice owns interest in the Houston Texans NFL Franchise and is the Senior Chairman of the Texans and, according to the Application filed by Cary, is allegedly incapacitated and unable to make her own medical and financial decisions.
As of now most of the pleadings filed with the court are sealed due to a Temporary Sealing Order, but according to the Harris County Probate Records, the guardianship is being contested by Janice and her son, Daniel Calhoun McNair. Both Janice and her son, Daniel, have filed Affidavits with the court stating that not sealing the records of this proceeding will cause immediate and irreparable harm to all parties involved due to the confidential nature of the information that will be submitted to the court.
While most guardianship proceedings are available to the public, the judge assigned to this case has signed a Temporary Sealing Order that restricts the public’s view of the pleadings until an Order has been signed to permanently seal the court records.
According to the pleadings filed with the court that are currently available, in addition to the Application filed, Cary McNair also filed copies of Janice McNair’s Medical Power of Attorney and Statutory Durable Power of Attorney.
While these documents are executed to help prevent the need of guardianship, it does depend on what these documents allow an agent to do on your behalf. Limiting the authority of the person you appoint as your agent may cause the need for a guardian in the future.
Properly executing legal documents such as a medical power of attorney, statutory durable power of attorney, and other healthcare directives is imperative so you can avoid being subject to a time-consuming and costly court process.
Some of the documents that your estate plan should consist of include:
Having a comprehensive estate plan is of paramount importance as it serves as a strategic tool to navigate life’s uncertainties and avoid potential issues such as guardianship and probate. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help provide peace of mind knowing that you and your loved ones will be properly protected throughout life’s “what ifs”.
Regularly reviewing estate planning documents is a cornerstone of responsible financial and personal management, emphasizing the dynamic nature of life’s circumstances. Proactive planning involves not only creating a comprehensive estate plan but also staying attuned to changes in one’s life, assets, and relationships. Life events such as marriages, births, divorces, or changes in financial status can significantly impact the efficacy of an estate plan. By revisiting and updating documents such as wills, trusts, and power of attorney regularly, individuals ensure that their plans remain aligned with their current intentions and the ever-evolving legal landscape.
While the high-profile guardianship proceeding involving the owner of the Houston Texans, Janice McNair has shone light on the complexities of a guardianship process, it has also illuminated the importance of planning for tomorrow. Proactive planning can minimize the risk of having to go through an expensive, public, and time-consuming court process that the McNair family is currently facing, ensure your intentions are accurately represented, and provide a solid foundation for protecting your loved ones.
Engaging with an experienced estate planning attorney is a crucial step in this journey. Contact Your Legacy Legal Care™ today so we can provide you with peace of mind and security amid life’s uncertainties. Call us at (281) 218-0880 or schedule online here to get started today!
Kimberly Hegwood is the Managing Attorney of Your Legacy Legal Care, a Houston estate planning law firm. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law in Texas, she represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including elder law, asset protection, estate planning, Medicaid crisis planning, probate, guardianship, and other estate planning practice areas.
Kimberly received her Juris Doctor from the South Texas College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
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