Adult guardianships are established by Maryland courts after a judicial determination that a person is in need of protection because of severe disabilities, mental incapacities, hospitalization or other impairments that prevent a person from making financial and life decisions. Examples of persons in need of guardianship include those with declining mental faculties, addictions, mental and physical impairments and other conditions.
Generally speaking, there are two types of Maryland guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the property. A person appointed as a guardian can be one or the other or both. In some cases, two guardians can be appointed, one as the guardian of the person and another as guardian of property.
If you think that a loved family member is in need of an adult guardianship, please call us here at the Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. It can be a difficult and emotional topic for everyone involved and it is important to have caring legal guidance to explore options. Often, the better practice is to take matters in steps – start, for example, with establishing a guardianship of the property. Call for a consultation at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD and Washington, DC.
What is the legal process?
The first step in establishing a guardianship is filing a petition with the Maryland County Circuit Court. The petition must state whether a guardianship of the person or of the property (or both) is being sought. The petition must state the reasons why guardianship is needed. The judge assigned to the case will review the petition and hold one or more hearings where evidence is taken. The court will eventually make a determination on two questions:
- Do the facts establish that a guardianship is necessary under Maryland law?
- Is the person seeking to become a guardian capable of undertaking the responsibilities of a guardian?
What are the duties of a guardian?
If the Maryland court establishes a guardianship, the guardian will have various court-supervised responsibilities.
If a guardianship of the person is created, then the guardian will be responsible for ensuring the proper care of the person who is under guardianship. This can involve ensuring that the person has food, clothing, a place to live, proper medical care, etc. The guardian of the person will also be responsible for making “life decisions” such as where and with whom the person lives, education (where applicable), health care, etc. Essentially, the guardian of the person takes on the role of a parent with respect to a minor child.
If a guardianship of the property is created, then the guardian will be responsible for managing the finances and assets of the person who is under guardianship. This may involve routine tasks like paying bills, ensuring receipt of government and/or other benefits, managing investments, maintaining insurance policies, tracking and husbanding valuable assets (like jewelry and vehicles), etc. It may also involve making decisions with regard to selling or buying real estate and other types of substantial financial decisions. Generally, the guardian of the property person must act to manage and preserve the assets and property so that it may be used for the benefit and welfare of the person who is under guardianship.
Columbia, Maryland Guardianship Attorneys
If you are thinking about seeking a guardianship, contact the Maryland Guardianship attorneys a The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. We have the experience and expertise you need. Schedule a consultation today or call us at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280. We have offices in Columbia, MD and Washington, DC.