DEAR JEFF: I had a truck repossessed recently because of three payments past due. I had owned it for five years and it was to be auctioned off by the out-of-state bank for the balance.

I have no idea how much it auctioned off for but I received a letter informing me that I still owe a sizeable amount. Am I legally bound to pay for something auctioned off? The price they received was not disclosed. Thanks, “Re-Po’d”

Dear “Re-Po’d”: If you still have it, you should check the terms of the security agreement you signed at the time you took possession. In all likelihood, the security agreement gives the company the right to repossess the vehicle, and sell it at auction.

In conducting the sale, they are required to do it in a “commercially reasonable” manner. As long as this requirement is met, the sales price will be considered valid. If the sales price is more than the amount owed (which almost never happens), you would be due a refund.

Conversely, if the sales price is less than the amount that you owe on the note, you may be held liable for the deficiency, even though you no longer have possession of the truck.

DEAR JEFF: What is required for me to establish a legal guardianship over an adult relative? Thanks, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”

Dear “My Brother”: The first step in establishing guardianship over an adult is obtaining a medical report from a physician who has diagnosed, and presumably treated, the adult (called a “ward”) and is familiar with the capabilities of the person.

The physician must sign an affidavit that is very detailed as to what the ward’s abilities are in caring for himself or herself. Once the medical information is obtained, a guardianship proceeding is filed in the county court. Certain family members are entitled to notice of the guardianship proceeding, including any adult siblings.

An attorney ad litem will be appointed to represent the interests of the ward, and will make a recommendation to the court as to whether the guardianship is in the ward’s best interests. If the court agrees that guardianship is proper, the guardian typically files a bond, and the order is signed.

The guardian is required to make annual accountings to the court regarding expenditures made for or on behalf of the ward.

Jeffrey Bates is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, but is not board certified in any area of specialty by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

This column is meant for general information and educational purposes only, and neither this column nor the transmittal of a legal question via email constitutes the creation of an attorney/client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey Bates and/or Southern Newspapers Inc. For specific advice regarding legal matters affecting you, consult an attorney.

To submit a question, send it via email to JeffreyPBates@aol.com, or via regular mail to Ask the Lawyer, 101 S. First St., Lufkin 75901, or call 639-2900.

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