What is a guardianship and do I need to get one for my loved one?

There are two types of adult guardianships in Maryland:  guardians of the person and guardians of the property.  A guardian of the person covers authority of medical, contractual, and day-to-day decisions for another adult.  A guardian of the property covers authority over money and assets including, but not limited to, financial accounts, real estate and land, vehicles, and tangible personal property.

A guardianship may be in order where a person is unable to manage his or her physical needs, health care, assets, or finances.  This person is called an “alleged disabled person.”  A guardian can be appointed for an alleged disabled person if lesser restrictive alternatives are not possible, or if someone does not already have the authority to make decisions on the alleged disabled person’s behalf (e.g. power of attorney). 

Guardianships of Minors.

Sometimes, people want to file for guardianship of a minor in order to care for the child.  This can be done for the same reasons; however, with a child you can also file for custody and a Custody Order may be a much better option (faster, less contentious, and no subsequent reporting requirements). There are some critical differences.  To find out which option is best for you, call our Office at 410-290-6270 to schedule an appointment/consultation. 

Someone, usually a family member, files a petition with the court to become the guardian.  The court will consider whether the person asking to be appointed (‘the petitioner”) is the person best suited to make decisions on behalf of the alleged disabled person.  The alleged disabled person will have an attorney appointed by the court to represent him/her and to confirm, with the direction of at least two medical/mental health professionals, whether the alleged disabled person is incapacitated and whether his/her condition will improve or worsen.

Once a guardian is appointed, the guardian must complete specific trainings, and file paperwork with the court to certify the guardian’s completion of the training, and inventories and accountings for any property of the disabled person. This must happen every year. 

Mulinazzi Law Office assists by:

  • Discussing options and alternatives with you
  • Representing petitioners and interested parties in guardianship actions
  • Representing guardians and assisting guardians with filing the required paperwork after appointment
  • Preparing Advanced Medical Directives and Power of Attorney documents for adults, prior to incapacity, to avoid costly guardianship litigation which can take several weeks absent an emergency
  • Serving as a mediator or part of a mediation tandem to resolve guardianships disputes and keep the case out of court