Emmett and Yvette after the Senior Law Day presentation on Guardianships in Sudlersville, Maryland - May 1, 2017
By Emmett B. Irwin
I had the pleasure of speaking to Seniors in Sudlersville, Maryland on May 1, 2017 about Guardianship law and alternatives to Guardianship. Thanks to the Maryland State Bar Association and Mid-Shore Pro Bono for putting together this wonderful program.
1. What is Guardianship? – Guardianship in Maryland is court-ordered control of an adult disabled person’s financial affairs, personal affairs or both. A court-appointed Guardian of the Property will control an incapacitated person’s (“the ward”) financial affairs for the ward’s benefit. A court-appointed Guardian of the Person will control the ward’s personal care, most often decisions over medical care.
2. How do I prepare for a Guardianship? – A Guardianship Petition must be filed where the Alleged Disabled Person (“ADP”) resides or the county of the medical facility where the ADP is currently housed (he/she is not called “the ward” until the Petition is approved). Two certificates completed by medical providers must be filed with the Petition. You don’t need to hire a lawyer to do the Petition, but you don’t need to hire a doctor to remove your appendix either. The Guardianship Petition is extremely complex, as is the law surrounding it, so if you don’t get a lawyer you may just make a mistake that is irreversible. However, attorneys are expensive – you’ve been warned.
3. Guardianship alternatives – Often a Guardianship can be avoided by getting a Financial Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, or both. A Financial POA acts almost exactly like a Guardian of Property and a Healthcare POA acts almost exactly like a Guardian of the Person.
Disclaimer: this Blog post is an extreme simplification of the law and is meant for general information purposes, it is not legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different, if in doubt get legal counsel.