Guardianship Compliance Program
The goal of this project is to help courts protect our most vulnerable citizens and their assets.
Effective June 1, 2018: Senate Bill 1096 requires that all guardianships in Texas be registered with the JBCC prior to appointment of a guardian. It also directs the JBCC to provide guardians with proper training and to obtain a criminal history record for individuals seeking appointment as guardian. The training and criminal history record requirements are tied to the implementation of the registry, which is effective June 1, 2018. The JBCC is developing procedures and processes, including the training, to implement this bill. We will post updates periodically as we proceed with the implementation.
Guardianship Compliance Program (GCP)
Pursuant to the Judicial Council recommendation from the Elders Committee, OCA obtained funding from the Texas Legislature (Rider 20 to OCA in the GAA) to establish a pilot program to improve guardianship compliance. The Office of Court Administration has launched the Guardianship Compliance Project to provide additional resources to courts handling guardianship cases. The goal of this project is to help courts protect our most vulnerable citizens and their assets. Assistance is available to counties that have a significant number of guardianship cases reported at no cost to the county. OCA is also developing an on-line guardianship reporting application to monitor guardianship filings of initial inventory and annual accountings and annual reports.
Through this project, our guardianship compliance specialists are be available to:
- Review adult guardianship cases to identify reporting deficiencies by the guardian.
- Audit annual accountings and report findings back to the court.
- Work with courts to develop best practices in managing guardianship cases.
Since the project began in November 2015, Guardianship Compliance staff have worked with 34 courts in 21 counties.
- o 19,615 guardianship cases reviewed
- o 13,353 guardianship cases recommended for closure
2,513 deceased persons under guardianship
- o 6,262 active guardianship cases were identified
- o 1639 guardianship cases were found to be out of compliance
34 percent of cases were found to be missing reports of the person
41 percent of cases were found to be missing initial inventories
46 percent of cases were found to be missing annual accountings
Note: These statistics are reported for the 18 counties in which the initial review process has been completed. The number of active guardianships in those 18 counties totaled 4167. With 1639 cases out of compliance with required reporting, the percentage of cases out of compliance is 39%.
Conservatorship Accountability Project (CAP)
- Texas has also received an implementation award to receive technical assistance to implement the Conservatorship Accountability Project (CAP). Indiana, Iowa, and Texas were selected to receive implementation awards; New Mexico and Nevada were provided planning awards. This project will use the extensive expertise and experience of the National Center for State Courts to support Texas' efforts in adapting the Minnesota "MyMNConservator" software, which allows conservators (known as guardians of the estate in Texas) to file their inventory and annual accountings electronically, integrating the software with our statewide electronic filing system. The red flag validation and implementation, standardized reports and alerts, and judicial response protocols in the system will greatly improve Texas judges' ability to protect assets and modernize and improve guardianship accounting with limited resources. This project coincides with the Office of Court Administration's Guardianship Compliance Pilot Project.
- Part of the funding provided to OCA by the 84th Legislature was for the development of an automated, electronic tool to process the filing of required reports and other documents in guardianship cases.
- This system will provide an automated method to notify courts when required reports are delinquent. It will also provide an automated method to review annual accounting reports for potential fraudulent activities.
- The OCA IT staff is currently evaluating and developing an on-line reporting application for guardians.
- The goal will be to work with the courts to safeguard the assets of protected persons through the oversight of guardians by conducting professional compliance audits.
- OCA expects that this online tool will be piloted in several counties prior to the end of the year.
Guardianship Compliance Participating Counties
Hays, Guadalupe, Webb, Comal, Anderson, Montgomery, Orange, Tom Green, Kaufman, Lubbock, Bexar, Washington, Jefferson, Hill, Grimes, Hale, Potter, Cameron, Titus, Waller, and Williamson.
- Met with Judges, court staff, and county clerks on details of project.
- They have all be extremely cooperative with the project, except one county court at law judge.
- Conducted an Initial Assessment and Program Survey.
- Conducted Review and audit of guardianship files for overall reporting compliance
- Reviewing files for missing inventories, missing annual report of the persons, and missing annual accountings.
- Completing audit sheet for each active case file.
- Compiling our findings on a spreadsheet to report.
- Conducting financial audit of estates using Initial Inventories and Annual Accountings.
- Working with the courts to develop notices to request missing reports and information.
- Maintaining a list to recommend best practices for the courts.