Guardianship Compliance Project
The goal of this project is to help courts protect our most vulnerable citizens and their assets.
Guardianship Compliance Pilot Project (GCP)
Pursuant to the Judicial Council recommendation from the Elders Committee, OCA obtained funding from the 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.
The Office of Court Administration will report on the performance of the Guardianship Compliance Project in a study to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2017. The report will include at least the following:
- The number of courts involved in the guardianship compliance project.
- The number of guardianship cases reviewed by the guardianship compliance project.
- The number of reviewed guardianship cases found to be out of compliance with statutorily required reporting.
- The number of cases reported to the court for ward well-being or financial exploitation concerns.
- The status of technology developed to monitor guardianship filings
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.
• The OCA IT staff is currently evaluating and developing an on-line reporting application for guardians. The goal is to stand up the application in Guadalupe County to test the reporting system. 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.
Guardianship Compliance Personnel
The project team has three guardianship compliance specialists reviewing the guardianship case files.
• Kim Bennink
• Rebecca Doolittle
• David Paniagua
Recent Guardianship Compliance Training
On May 26 and 27, 2016, The Guardianship Compliance team attended the Guardianship and Elder Law CLE in Austin. Also attending training with DADS and Travis County Probate Court.
Guardianship Compliance Participating Counties
Hays, Guadalupe, Webb, Comal, Anderson, Montgomery, Orange, Bexar, and Lubbock. Soon to be in Tyler and Tom Green Counties
• Met with Judges, court staff, and county clerks on details of project.
• They have all be extremely cooperative with the project.
• Conducted an Initial Assessment and Program Survey.
• Conducted Review and audit of guardianship files for overall reporting compliance
o Reviewing files for missing inventories, missing annual report of the persons, and missing annual accountings.
o Completing audit sheet for each active case file
o 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
• Developing and sending letters for the missing reports and accounting.