Central Maryland Guardianship Attorney
A guardianship can be over the person or the property or it can be for an adult or a child. Decisions cannot be made for the alleged disabled person or the minor until the court grants legal authority for that individual to take on such role. In any of these circumstances, an individual petitions the court – or asks permission from the court – to appoint them as the guardian of the person, property or person and property for an alleged disabled person (someone who no longer can make decisions for themselves) or a child (someone under the age of 18).
Guardian of the Property versus Guardian of the Person
Guardianship of the property (a Conservatorship) allows the appointed guardian to perform financial transactions on behalf of the individual. The guardian of the property can pay taxes, invest money, pursue litigation, and sell the property on behalf of the minor or disabled person.
Guardianship of a Minor
The guardianship of a child or minor (defined under Maryland statute to be someone under the age of 18) may be necessary due to certain circumstances. Guardianship is not the same as having custody of a child but guardianship can be over the minor’s person and/or property. Guardianship for a minor is appropriate when a minor requires medical treatment or handling of certain financial issues. The Orphans’ Court for the jurisdiction in which the minor lives will handle any and all guardianship matters associated with minors.
An adult guardianship or conservatorship (specific for financial guardianship) starts when an interested person, such as a spouse, child, relative, friend, social service department or a medical institution, petitions or requests the court to appoint either that individual or entity to serve as the guardian of the person or the property (also called a conservatorship). The court appoints an individual to serve as the guardian of the person, property, or both after receiving the petition and supporting documentation – physician certificates – stating the person’s inability to no longer make decisions for themselves. The court appoints an attorney to act as an advocate for the alleged disabled person to ensure the individual’s rights are protected.
Although guardianships are more frequently requested for the elderly as individuals are no longer able to make decisions for themselves or perhaps even leave their homes as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s, there are instances when individuals are injured, become ill, or have psychological health issues that require someone to step in on their behalf to make medical decisions for them. Guardianship is available as a means of last resort for the elderly and mentally disabled. The Circuit Court for each respective county or Baltimore City adjudicates or handles these adult guardianship matters.
Whether serving as the guardian of the person and/or property for a minor child or an adult, the guardian is required to provide a regular accounting of their activity to the court. The court ultimately serves as the guardian of the person with the appointed individual serving as the court’s agent. The guardian must meet these regular deadlines and are compelled to act in a fiduciary capacity. A fiduciary capacity is when the guardian acts in the best interest of their ward, charge or the alleged disabled person.
We represent interested persons seeking guardianship or conservatorship and the interested person or persons contesting an individual being appointed as guardian or conservator primarily in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Carroll, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard Counties. Petitioning and serving as guardian for a child or an alleged disabled person can be challenging and we are here to represent you in all aspects of guardianship. We are also available to serve as guardian of the person, property, and/or both as needed.