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The Law Offices of Chelsea M. Sadler, LLC., offers Maryland Guardianship Law services for Cecil and Harford County, Maryland. If you are looking for a guardianship attorney to help you with legal matters that arise from issues related to incapacitation, we can offer you, personalized legal counsel. If you are looking for a Cecil County guardianship lawyer for a aging loved one or special needs adult child, we can help guide you through the Maryland Guardianship Process. Schedule a consultation to learn more about our services and how we can assist you and your loved ones. We offer flexible appointment scheduling to accommodate your busy schedule.
Applying for Guardianship in Maryland
To initiate the guardianship process, you must file a petition with the appropriate court. When a person cannot take care of their personal or financial needs because of age, disease, or disability, the court may appoint a guardian. Court-appointed guardians protect Maryland’s most vulnerable individuals.
The petition and court process vary depending on where your loved one lives. State laws and the decision made by the court will also determine your potential risks and duties as a fiduciary — the person appointed by the court — as well as the level of control the ward retains after your appointment.
How does a court decide what to do?
The court is the ultimate decider of whether an alleged disabled person lacks the legal capacity to make decisions regarding his or her care or finances. The court must base its determination of disability, however, on supporting medical evidence from qualified health care providers.
To prove disability, two physicians OR one physician and a psychologist or certified social worker-clinical (LCSW-C), must provide to the court verified certificates that describe the medical or psychological diagnoses of the disability.
Types of Guardianship in Maryland
Guardianship of a Minor
Guardianship of an Adult
Guardianship of an Alleged Disabled Person
Guardianship of the Property
A court-appointed guardian may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred while carrying out his or her duties as Guardian. Additionally, a court-appointed Guardian may receive a commission for serving as Guardian. A Guardianship terminates upon the death of the incompetent individual or when the court restores the individual’s competence.
When would an adult need a guardian?
With our population living longer, there may come a time during an elderly person’s life when someone else may have to make decisions concerning his or her medical care or financial affairs. But at what point can a person no longer, legally, make those decisions? When is he or she legally “incompetent?”
Legal discussions on this issue refer to a person’s “capacity,” rather than “competence.” Mental capacity is one of the most difficult of legal questions because it is not easy to determine the point in the progress of a disease at which the faculties are so far impaired that they fall below the standard of legal capacity. Certainly, the mere diagnosis of a disease is not sufficient, in and of itself, to prove that a person lacks the legal capacity to make his or her own decisions. For example, a person may have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but still have sufficient capacity to pay bills in a timely manner.
Guardian of the Property: A court will establish a guardianship for a person’s property when it can be shown that a person has or may be entitled to property or benefits that require proper management and is unable to effectively manage that property because of a physical or mental disability or disease (or in several other specific circumstances). When there is a medical condition present, this standard can usually be met by merely showing that a person can no longer balance a checkbook, pay household bills, or handle mail responsibly. At that point, the court can appoint a guardian to act on behalf of the court to manage a disabled person’s property. However, you must still show the court that there are no less restrictive alternatives available.
Guardianship of the Person: A person is legally disabled (or lacks legal capacity) when he or she lacks sufficient understanding or ability to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning himself or herself, such as provisions for health care, food, clothing, or shelter. The disability can be because of:
addiction to drugs,
Establishing guardianship of a person will be necessary for two primary situations:
Where the alleged disabled person failed to execute a health care power of attorney and certain medical procedures are necessary that require consent.
When more than one person in the family wants to care for an alleged disabled person, the family is unable to resolve this conflict on its own.