Maryland Guardianship Lawyer

Under Maryland law, individuals have the right to make decisions concerning their own lives without the influence of other people. This extends to the ability to care for one’s personal, financial, and legal needs.

However, situations may arise where a person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to care for their own needs. When this occurs, it may be necessary for a relative or close friend to petition the court to assign a guardian. This guardian would assume the duty to care for the wellbeing and legal concerns in the subject’s life.

Guardians under state law must follow specific procedures to obtain this power over the subject. Additionally, guardians have a legal duty to the subject to perform their roles with proper care. A Maryland guardianship lawyer could help you determine if there is a need for a guardian and take the necessary steps in family court to fulfill that role.

When is a Guardianship Possible Under the Law?

The appointment of a guardian is often a court’s last resort in determining the needs of a subject, also known as the ward. Courts usually want to keep a person’s rights intact, and assigning a guardian gives someone immense decision-making power over the subject’s life.

A family court will only assign a guardian if it determines that the subject is disabled. According to Maryland Rule, Rule 10-103(b), a disabled person is someone who is unable to communicate responsible decisions concerning their own wellbeing due to either a mental disability, disease, habitual drunkenness, or an addiction to drugs. The court may assign a guardian to care for a ward’s life or to handle the care of property.

The party appointed as a guardian bears the burden of proving to the court that the guardianship is necessary. The court will assign a lawyer to represent the rights of the allegedly disabled person, and that same court may appoint an independent investigator to determine the extent of the subject’s disability. As a result, the process for obtaining guardianship is complex and must follow strict legal procedures. A local guardianship attorney could help to take the first steps to determine if this is possible.

The Responsibilities of Maryland Guardians

Maryland guardians of both people and property have responsibilities under the law. These responsibilities extend to the court and the subject of the order. A guardian has substantial powers to handle the ward’s affairs as they see fit, but these choices may be subject to scrutiny.

The state provides a guardianship orientation and training program that offers basic information to the prospective guardian. This consists of training topics such as the court processes involved in becoming a guardian, an overview of a guardian’s responsibilities, and how to recognize signs of abuse that may affect the subject. Under Maryland Rules, Appendix 2, a guardian must submit a certificate of a program’s completion to the court.

A failure to fulfill these obligations may lead to a court or another interested person challenging a guardian’s powers. According to Maryland Rules, Rule 10-208, courts have the jurisdiction to hold hearings to evaluate the actions of guardians and potentially remove them if they find grounds. A Maryland legal professional experienced in guardianship law could provide more information about the duties of guardians and ensure they fulfill their roles in accordance with the requirements of the law.

A Maryland Guardianship Attorney Could Help Protect the Infirm

Many people will need extra care at some point in their lives. This may involve a mental health concern or a disability that compromises one’s ability to care for their finances. In more serious situations, a physical injury or mental health disease would require around-the-clock care and could make it impossible to maintain their own wellbeing, and a guardian may be necessary.

A Maryland guardianship lawyer may be able to help you to understand the role and responsibilities of guardians. They could help you obtain a guardianship order, contest the appointment of a guardian, or even pursue claims that a guardian has failed in their duties. Call today to discuss your options.