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Estate Planning

Understanding Your Right to a Jury Trial in Contested Guardianship Cases in Houston, Texas

Understanding Your Right to a Jury Trial in Contested Guardianship Cases in Houston, Texas


Troy Moore

January 30, 2024

January 30, 2024

Understanding Your Right to a Jury Trial in Contested Guardianship Cases in Houston, Texas


Guardianship cases can be emotionally challenging and legally complex, particularly when they become contested matters. In Houston, Texas, understanding the legal rights and processes in these cases is crucial for parties involved. One critical aspect under Texas law is the entitlement to a jury trial in contested guardianship proceedings, as outlined in Texas Estates Code 1055.051. This blog post will delve into the specifics of this right and clarify the distinct roles of judges and juries in guardianship decisions.

Understanding Contested Guardianship Proceedings

A guardianship proceeding becomes contested when parties disagree on who should be appointed as a guardian or whether a guardianship is necessary at all. These disputes often arise due to concerns about the welfare of the ward (the individual in need of guardianship), disagreements among family members, or questions about the proposed guardian’s suitability.

Your Right to a Jury Trial: Texas Estates Code 1055.051

Under Texas Estates Code 1055.051, any party in a contested guardianship proceeding in Houston has the right to request a jury trial. This is a fundamental right designed to ensure fairness and impartiality in the decision-making process. When a party exercises this right, key decisions in the guardianship case are placed in the hands of a jury rather than a sole judge.

The Role of the Jury in Guardianship Cases

In guardianship proceedings where a jury trial has been requested, the jury plays a pivotal role. It is the jury, not the judge, that decides on the necessity of a guardianship and the suitability of a proposed guardian. The jury’s decision is based on evidence and testimonies presented during the trial, ensuring that the verdict is grounded in a thorough examination of the case. The Judge in the Probate Court is there to facilitate the administration of justice, and make sure that all parties rights' are protected, and that they are free to make their arguments, within the confines of the law, to the jury. It is the Jury, not the Judge, who decides the final, central pivotal issue of incapacity for the individual.

How Judges Facilitate the Process

While the jury makes the critical decisions in these cases, the role of the judge remains vital. Judges oversee the legal process, ensuring that the trial adheres to procedural rules and legal standards. They provide instructions to the jury on the applicable law and may rule on legal issues that arise during the trial. However, when it comes to the ultimate decision on guardianship matters in a jury trial, the judge defers to the jury’s verdict.


In Houston, Texas, the right to a jury trial in contested guardianship proceedings under Texas Estates Code 1055.051 empowers parties to ensure that the decision-making process is fair and unbiased. Understanding this right and the distinct roles of judges and juries is essential for anyone involved in a guardianship dispute. If you are navigating such a case, seeking the expertise of a skilled probate law firm can provide guidance and support through this complex legal terrain.

Contact Law Office of Troy M. Moore for experienced Guardianship Guidance when your family has one of the worst issues come up.

As a 22-year experienced probate attorney in Houston, Mr. Moore is dedicated to guiding clients through the intricacies of guardianship proceedings, including jury trials. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your case and understand your rights and options under Texas law.

Understanding Your Right to a Jury Trial in Contested Guardianship Cases in Houston, Texas

January 30, 2024

January 30, 2024

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