What is guardianship and do I need one for my loved one?

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The matter of guardianship is one that bears a lot of impact on 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 family law attorney in Towson, MD could help get you the legal guidance you need regarding the matter of 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 taking care of their personal or financial needs. 

This inability or lack of self-sufficiency may be due to several different reasons. It could be of 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 is unable to fend for or take care of themselves. If your adult or a 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 be also shown that the applying guardian will be able to 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 are unable to take medications on time, or suddenly find themselves confused about their surroundings. If the applying guardian is able to clearly show to the court that the intended ward is indeed incapacitated, then the guardianship appointment may be approved.

Cases Where Guardianship is Required for Minors

While guardianship over children commonly takes place upon the death of both parents, there are many other instances when they may be put under guardianship even though their parents are still alive. 

In this case, what matters in the situation is the condition of the parents. Are they suffering from a serious disease or injury that prevents them from taking care of their children? Perhaps the parent is suffering from substance abuse and so is unable to provide a safe and secure environment for the children. 

It’s also possible that they are physically barred from carrying out their parental duties and obligations, either because they are incarcerated or are receiving treatment in a recovery and rehab facility. 

In these cases, another individual can step up to take over the guardianship of the children in the meantime. As a guardian, they then 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. 

How our attorneys can help

If you’re seriously considering filing for guardianship, it is best that you seek help from a family law attorney in Towson. 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 take care of 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. 

Apply for Guardianship 

Get in touch with LEVIN GANN PA about guardianship in 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.