In Maryland, guardianship of a minor proceedings usually result from two circumstances. The first circumstance occurs when a minor child has inherited or is receiving property of any kind. A minor child can inherit or receive property when there is the death of a grandparent or a parent, and sometimes the minor is awarded some sort of award as a result of a personal injury lawsuit or some other similar matter.
Due to the complexities that come with the guardianship of a minor, it is important to retain a Maryland guardianship lawyer to help navigate the process.
Types of Guardianship
When an individual is seeking guardianship of a minor, they have the option of seeking either guardianship of the property or guardianship of the person. In the event where a child has lost both parents, it is possible that another family member or friend is seeking guardianship of both capacities.
Guardianship of the person would allow the guardian to make healthcare, living, and medical decisions for the child. Guardianship of the property would allow an individual to control any assets for the child or manage any assets on behalf of the child.
One common misconception is that the naming of a guardian in the last will and testament serves as the authority for an individual to act on behalf of a child. For example, it is very common for an individual who has minor children to name a preferred guardian in their last will and testament. However, nomination of that guardian does not give the guardian the authority to act on behalf of the child without petitioning the court to appoint them as guardian of the person or the property on behalf of the minor.
Understanding the Process in Maryland
The process of becoming a guardian of a minor in Maryland can be complex because it requires a court proceeding. The individual that wishes to be a guardian must petition the court to become guardian. All of the individuals interested in the child’s life are identified to receive all information regarding the court proceedings, including the petition from the court.
Other family members and relations may have an opportunity throughout the guardianship process to object to the appointment of the guardian and recommend the appointment of a different guardian. The child’s best interest is always the court’s priority; the court will determine who should be appointed the child’s guardian based on the information presented during the guardianship process.
Oftentimes, individuals that have minor children will name a guardian, in the event of their mutual death, in their last will and testament. The court puts a considerable amount of weight to that selection when appointing a guardian of a minor child. To learn more about the basics of guardianship of minors
Rejection of Petitions
The acceptance of a guardianship or the approval of a guardianship pleading is done on a case by case basis. The court looks at the best interest of the child and makes a determination on the facts of the specific case.
In cases where a guardian is also a parent, the process may be less complicated. In situations where the petitioning individual for guardianship is not a parent, then the case may be complicated by the facts that there might be other individuals who would like to serve as guardian of the child and/or who may object to the pleadings.
Hiring a Maryland Guardianship Attorney
It is important to find an attorney who understands that sometimes guardianship of a minor in Maryland can be a very difficult process; especially in the event where a minor child has recently lost both parents. They can assist clients with understanding the role of guardian, the duties, obligations and the responsibility of being a guardian, and can also alleviate the burden for guardians by assisting with the preparation of the required court reporting throughout the guardianship proceedings.
An attorney can assist you with preparing the pleadings to become guardian of the minor and filing them in the appropriate jurisdiction. An attorney can also help understand what the fiduciary duties are with the different positions of guardian whether it be guardian of the person or guardian of the property. In addition, an attorney can assist by attending any hearings or any trials that are required as a result of the pleading.
Finally, if an individual is appointed guardian of the person or the property, the attorney can assist with the continued court reports that are required throughout the course of the guardianship proceedings.
Ways a Lawyer Can Help
One important step is consulting the guardian to determine the guardianship’s relation to the child. An attorney can assist with advising a guardian on what his or her fiduciary obligations may be when he or she is appointed guardian of the person or of the property. An attorney can make sure that the individual is prepared to take on the responsibility of making those decisions and to continue to comply with the court reporting.
An attorney may also help write the pleadings or the petition that is filed so that a guardian can be appointed by the court.