What Is Guardianship and Do I Need One for My Loved One?

unrecognizable female expressing care towards an elderly lady

The matter of guardianship greatly impacts the parties involved, specifically the ward and the guardian. It can be a highly complex process, which is why you should seek the help of a lawyer.

In Maryland, a guardianship lawyer could help get you the legal guidance you need regarding Maryland guardianship. But what is it exactly, and why is it such a complex legal proceeding?

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal arrangement wherein the court appoints a person as the guardian over another individual, either an adult or a minor child. This usually occurs when the ward is deemed incapable of supporting themselves or caring for their personal or financial needs.

This inability or lack of self-sufficiency may be due to old age, a disease, or a mental or physical disability.

Do I Need One for My Loved One?

Any person interested in guardianship in Maryland may file for a Petition for Guardianship. The question is: do you need a guardian for your loved one?

The most basic requirement for a petition for guardianship to be approved is proof that the intended ward cannot fend for or care for themselves. If your adult or minor loved one is found to meet this condition, then chances are high that the petition will be approved.

This is not the only consideration that the court factors in, however. Just because a person filed for guardianship doesn’t automatically mean they will be appointed to the role. It must also show that the applying guardian can prioritize the best interests of their ward.

Cases Where Guardianship is Required for Adults

A senior adult with dementia or Alzheimer’s, for example, will need a guardian to make sure that there is someone to stay on top of their medical needs and general safety. This degenerative cognitive disease is progressive and can quickly lead to a rapid decline.

The situation can immediately become dangerous for the patient if they cannot take medications on time or suddenly find themselves confused about their surroundings. Suppose the applying guardian can clearly show to the court that the intended ward is indeed incapacitated and they are qualified. In that case, the court may approve the guardianship appointment.

Cases Where Guardianship is Required for Minors

Guardianship over children more commonly occurs upon the death of both parents.

In these cases, another individual can step up to take over the guardianship of the children in the meantime. As a guardian, they become responsible for taking care of the children’s needs, including their finances, education, health, shelter, and general welfare.

Anyone planning on becoming a guardian must also understand the cost of guardianship. Apart from the filing fees, all other expenses might also increase even more as the petitioning process goes on. A petition can take anywhere from a few several months to a year before a court decision is made.

Are You Considering Guardianship for Your Loved One?

If you’re seriously considering filing for guardianship, you should seek help from a guardianship lawyer. With their legal knowledge and skills, you can put forward the best possible case in justifying your application for guardianship.

Your lawyer will help you prove the intended ward’s incapacity to care for themselves. More importantly, they can also show that you are in the best position to put the child’s or adult’s best interests before anything else. Get in touch with LEVIN GANN PA about guardianship Maryland. Know about your options at the earliest possible instance, so you can work out a viable legal strategy that will allow you to take on the role of guardian to your intended ward and so be able to protect their best interests.