If a person in Maryland is unable to make decisions regarding his or her financial matters or personal care, it is possible for the court to create a guardianship. A guardianship empowers people or a person to make the important personal care and financial decisions for the individual, known as the ward. An attorney can help people establish guardianships after first reviewing the benefits and drawbacks of these legal vehicles.
Two types of guardianships exist, with the first being the guardianship of an individual. This involves giving a guardian control over someone’s personal needs, health care and living arrangements. The second is called guardianship of property, which entails giving control over the assets of the ward. Those who decide to seek a guardianship of a family member can rely on a qualified attorney to prepare their petition along with their supporting documentation. The attorney can then represent them in court and even prepare the required yearly reports to the court.
A guardianship, however, does involve legal expenses both when it is created and for the required yearly accountings that the court demands. Besides potentially being costly, a guardianship may also be inconvenient at times. This is particularly true if there are co-guardians, in which case both individuals are required to sign off whenever certain decisions are made.
Some alternatives to a guardianship in Maryland exist, such as a health care power of attorney or durable power of attorney. People may also choose to use health care proxies, payees and trusts. All of these options might either delay or avoid the need for a guardianship. A reputable attorney can go over all of a person’s legal options and help him or her to choose the vehicle that is best in his or her unique case.