Adult guardianship can be used to manage a disabled individual’s health care decisions or financial affairs. Guardianship should only be used as a last resort when a financial power of attorney or living will are not available. There are three types of guardians, guardian of the person, guardian of property, and guardian of the person and property.
Alternatives to Guardianship
Before petitioning for guardianship one should always consider if their loved one is competent enough to execute a living will or financial power of attorney. These documents allow the management of an individual’s healthcare decisions and financial records without court intervention.
Guardian of the Person Requirements
Under Maryland law in order to appoint a guardian of the person the Circuit Court of Maryland must determine that:
(1) The person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person due to (2) any mental disability or disease and (3) that there are no “less restrictive” means of ensuring that person’s helath and safety.
For example, I helped a client obtain guardianship over his father’s person because he had dementia and was unable to care for himself.
Guardian of the Person Powers
A Guardian of the Person is able to make decisions concerning (1) health care (2) food (3) and shelter.
Guardian of the Property Requirements
Under Maryland law in order to appoint a guardian of the property the Circuit Court of Maryland must determine that:
(1) The person is (1) unable to manage his property and affairs effectively due to (2) any mental disability (or) disease and(3) entitled to property or benefits which require proper management.
For example, I helped a client obtain guardianship over his father’s property because he had dementia and was unable to manage his property.
A petition for guardianship in Maryland must include two certificates from healthcare professionals that state that the person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions about his person or property.
Who can be a guardian?
- Guardians of the person can be including but not limited to:
- The disabled persons spouse
- A health care agent
- The disabled persons parents
- The disabled person’s children
- A person nominated by the disabled person’s caregiver
- Social services and similiar agencies
- Any other person or group considered appropriate by the court