Navigating Guardianship for the Elderly

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While more families face legal guardianship of aging parents or other loved ones, many arrive in court severely unprepared. Probate Court Judge Kathy Stone Offers helping hand through a free class on guardianship.

Judge Kathy Stone of Harris County Probate Court #1 has repeatedly seen the overwhelming need for basic information on guardianship in her court. Determined to find a solution, she launched education programs for both attorneys and non-attorneys, including a New Guardian Orientation class to help newly appointed lay guardians better understand their roles and duties in caring for a loved one.

The New Guardian Orientation class, offered free of charge to the public, is designed for anyone who has been appointed a guardian, is expecting to become one, or is just interested in what a guardian does. Appointees may attend regardless of when or in which court they were appointed.

Attendees learn about preparing and filing documents required under the Probate Code, record keeping, and basic information about caring for a loved one. Experienced guardians and attorneys, who provide practical advice on dealing with common issues and provide other resources for assistance, facilitate the New Guardian Orientation class. The next class will be offered Oct. 1, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. in the courtroom of Harris County Probate Court 1, 201 Caroline St., Suite 600, in downtown Houston.

Those interested in attending can learn more about the class or register in advance by visiting and clicking on the link for New Guardian Orientation in the left-hand column, or by contacting the guardianship coordinator by email at or by calling 713-368-6700. Please Note: This class is for the non-professional guardians. No Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits will be available.

Judge Stone will provide a Spanish translator for the New Guardian Orientation class on Oct. 1. She also is planning an orientation class, presented entirely in Spanish, for the spring of 2011.

As part of her initiative to cut cost to taxpayers, Stone has also initiated a Continuing Law Education (CLE) program offering classes to certify attorneys as Ad Litem free of charge in exchange for their commitment to take one pro bono case for Harris County, a move saving the county from having to pay for ad litem services on each one of those cases. Other courses are also offered periodically in her courtroom covering topics of interest to probate attorneys.

To learn more about Harris County Probate Court Judge Kathy Stone or Probate Court No. 1, please visit or


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Gregg Rodriguez

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