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Under current law guardianship proceedings require the attorney representing the applicant for guardianship and a court appointed attorney to be certified by the State Bar of Texas. The State Bar hosts a course study in guardianship law called the Guardianship Ad Litem Certification. Upon successfully completing the course attorneys are certified to serve in guardianship proceedings.
This bill would change the current law, by requiring attorneys representing “any person’s interest” in guardianship proceedings to be certified. The intent is to expand the certification requirement to the attorney representing an intervening third party.
Requiring extra certification limits the pool of available attorneys an intervening third party would have in a guardianship proceeding to only those who hold the certificate. Depending on the availability of attorneys with that particular certification, attorney services may be more difficult for an intervening third party to procure. This additional regulation represents a modest expansion of government.
On the other hand, the result of this bill would be to protect the property, finances, and rights of the person being placed under guardianship. It is the person who may be placed under guardianship who is responsible for the fees of all the attorneys involved, and if the person is placed under guardianship some individual liberties would likely be taken away from that person as a result of their adjudication. To the extant that this bill would prevent the depletion of such a person's finances and the withholding of some of their liberty, SB 37 would stand to protect our individual liberty principle.
Due to the conflict between these two principles, we are neutral on SB 37.