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The 2 kinds of adult guardianship granted in Maryland

Age can have a negative impact on someone’s health and ability to live on their own. Many older adults eventually develop concerning health issues, including dementia, that can leave them too vulnerable to live independently. Other adults may require support because of mental health challenges or cognitive impairments that they have had their whole lives. Acquired brain injuries could also diminish someone’s ability to live independently and manage their own affairs.

Occasionally, outside parties including family members or professional caregivers may reach the conclusion that a vulnerable adult needs the support of another competent adult. They could go to court requesting a guardianship. There are two different types of guardianship available in Maryland that can help those in different situations.

Guardianship of the person

Guardianship of a person imposes responsibility for handling someone’s daily affairs. An individual with guardianship of a person must ensure that someone has their basic needs fulfilled. They also have the legal authority to make major decisions for the people in their care. A guardian can make decisions about the kind of healthcare that someone receives, where they live and what kind of social outings they plan. Guardians have both control over someone’s daily life and a responsibility to meet their needs consistently.

Guardianship of the property

The courts can also name someone a guardian of another individual’s property, including real estate and financial accounts. In other states, this kind of guardianship is a conservatorship. Essentially, the courts name someone to oversee another person’s finances because they no longer have the ability to do so on their own behalf. A guardian of another person’s property makes payments to creditors and otherwise manages someone’s assets because they can no longer do so.

Both individuals who know the vulnerable adult through personal relationships and those who have a professional relationship with that person could seek either or both types of guardianship authority. Family members may want to consider pursuing guardianship when they notice a decline in someone’s health, as the failure to act might lead to a professional or a facility taking that step instead. Understanding what guardianship entails may help people recognize when a loved one needs the support of legal adult guardianship for their own safety and protection.


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