Guardianship & Conservatorship
Unfortunately, circumstances in life may arise that require people to consider if creating a guardianship or conservatorship would help protect someone else’s interests because that person is no longer able to protect themselves.
Guardianship is obtained through a legal process where someone is appointed to protect someone’s’ legal rights and make decisions on their behalf when that person is considered incapacitated and unable to do so. There is generally a court process when determining if someone is incapacitated and needs the protection of a guardian. In Maryland there are two types of guardianship: guardianship over the person and guardianship over property.
Guardianship of the person refers to a guardian who is responsible for making decisions about the health care, or other non-monetary decisions, for someone who does not have the mental competency or capacity to make the decisions for themselves.
Guardianship of the property is sometimes called a conservatorship, in places such as the District of Columbia. In this situation, the conservator is someone who has a fiduciary relationship with the person they have been elected to care for and they make the financial decisions and decision regarding property for that person.
Guardianships or conservatorships may be necessary to obtain when a parent or loved one can no longer care for themselves due to a coma, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, brain injury or another illness.
The Guardianship and Conservatorship Process:
In order for someone to be deemed a guardian or conservator the court must first determine if the individual in question is mentally incapacitated and if they will then be considered a “ward” in need of a person who has their best interests at heart. In order for the court to determine this, a petition must be filed, proving this drastic step is necessary.
Courts will rely on a team of medical experts and other professionals to make sure the individual in question really is incapacitated to the point where they cannot understand the facts about their healthcare, financial, or general living situation well enough to give informed consent regarding any decision.
Unfortunately, not every petition for guardianship or conservatorship will be approved in the way you would like or even be approved at all. A Maryland elder law attorney at Profit Law Firm can help navigate the process by submitting a petition and litigating so that your loved one can have the assistance they need in making personal and financial decisions.