The Richardson couple, who says they are being held against their will , is a step closer to their freedom. A new lawyer has been assigned to their case but there are still serious questions about why some of the rules were not followed
In 2005, the Texas legislature decided the elderly needed protection, so the Texas Guardianship Certification Board was set up. Michael Taylor is the Kidd’s financial guardian. Collin County Judge Weldon Copeland approved Taylor, who is an accountant in Greenville. There is just one problem
“The probate code says specifically that you are not eligible to be appointed as a guardian unless you are certified properly by the Guardianship Certification Board,” said Don Ford. Ford is a probate lawyer and serves on the Certification Board.
He says the rules are clear. Guardians in Texas must pass a test, clear a criminal background check and meet the qualifications to be a guardian. Michael Taylor is not certified by the board.
We called Taylor numerous times, even went to his office in Greenville.
“If you want to make an appointment, we can set you one up,” said a woman in Taylor’s office.
At first it appeared we would get to talk to Taylor but that changed when someone learned it was Fox 4 asking for his time.
“I can’t make an appointment. You will have to go through the attorney,” the woman responded.
We tried attorney Joe Aston. He represents Taylor the Guardian. No response from him.
The Kidds say they are living at the Countryside Nursing Home against their will . The state argued the Richardson couple was incapacitated, unable to care for themselves, after Michael broke his hip and required surgery. Eugenia suffers from memory loss.
The Kidd’s Richardson house was scheduled to be auctioned off in a foreclosure sale but the home was pulled from the auction list . It cannot be sold unless the judge signs off on it. Ford says a wards home should never go into foreclosure if there is equity in the house. The guardian’s job is to protect the assets. The judge’s job is to ensure the best course of action is always taken.
“We are supposed to consider the least restrictive alternative, not go all the way to the most restrictive,” Ford said. “If a person needs a little bit of assistance, then what can we do to make that little bit of assistance happen without having to completely strip away all of their rights?” Ford asked.
The Kidd’s case is costing taxpayers. Bert Starr’s four thousand dollar bill was picked up by Collin County taxpayers. There is also a state attorney and an attorney for the guardian. Melinda Hartnett says she does not know who will be paying her to represent the Jean and Michael Kidd. She says she may take the case pro bono or the county could pick up the tab.
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