Rockville Guardianship Lawyer

Guardianship is an overlooked topic when it comes to Rockville estate planning. After all, no one wants to consider a future where they are unable to make decisions for themselves or their dependents. In this way, the necessity for guardianship can take people by surprise.

A Rockville guardianship lawyer could assist with planning for future arrangements when the need for guardianship arises unexpectedly. If a guardianship proceeding is contested, a trust and estates lawyer who understands the procedures could work to negotiate a solution that avoids costly, drawn-out litigation.

Guardianship vs. Power of Attorney

Many people include power of attorney provisions in their estate plans to avoid the need for granting guardianship. When someone grants power of attorney to another, they give that person authority to make decisions or take actions on their behalf if they become incapacitated or pass away. Often, people in Rockville grant power of attorney to a loved one to make medical decisions on their behalf or handle financial matters. The person giving authority determines whether that granted power is broad or narrowly restricted to a single area of operation.

In a guardianship situation, instead of the individual granting authority to another person, the court would grant authority. The court also determines the scope of authority and who can wield it. A Rockville guardianship lawyer could assess a situation to determine whether power of attorney is an available option and if it would better suit the needs of those involved.

Minors do not have the legal capacity to grant power of attorney to someone, so a guardian must make decisions on their behalf. Only adults have the option to establish power of attorney, unless they become incapacitated.

Overview of Guardianship

Minors under the age of 18 may need a guardian in some cases because of their lack of ability to own assets in their own name. Parents are the natural guardians of their children but may need to petition the court to serve as guardian of the property of the minor child where a minor child inherits from an estate directly, rather than through a trust.

Adults are presumed to not need a guardian, so if an adult reaches a condition where they lack the required mental capacity to make decisions regarding care of themselves or their estate, it could be necessary to prove to a court that some type of guardianship is required. This process could be time-consuming and costly, particularly if the individual or relatives object to the concept of guardianship or the choice of the proposed guardian.

The court could separately name a guardian to make personal care decisions for loved ones, and a guardian of the property to manage finances for the individual, if necessary. A guardianship lawyer in Rockville could work to find the best approach so that those in need of a guardian are taken care of properly.

Guardianship Process in Rockville

Regardless of whether guardianship is challenged, the circuit court will conduct a hearing to determine if an individual is incapacitated and needs a guardian and if it does, who should be placed in the role. The person who is incapacitated would be appointed an attorney by the Court who could present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. A Rockville guardianship lawyer could work to ensure that the court hears the necessary evidence to persuade it to work toward a client’s objectives, whether that is seeking guardianship, or trying to avoid it.

Md. Code, Estates & Trusts §13-207 & 13-708 set forth a priority for choosing a guardian. Those entitled to appointment include:

  • Guardians appointed in another jurisdiction
  • Individuals chosen by the person needing guardianship when they were at least 16 years old and had sufficient mental capability
  • Spouses
  • Parents
  • The person or entity named in a deceased parent’s will
  • Children of the person needing guardianship
  • Heirs
  • Others nominated by an interested government agency

While there is a priority of individuals that can serve, the court will choose a guardian based on the best interest of the individual  After the court has appointed a guardian, that person could be required to undergo guardianship training, file a property inventory, or undertake new duties.

Consult a Rockville Guardianship Attorney

The process of naming a guardian could be emotionally challenging, and the need for diligence does not end once the court makes an appointment. Guardians are required to fulfill many legal requirements on a regular basis.

However, a Rockville guardianship lawyer could provide counsel on guardianship rules as well as assist in planning services, hearings, with other processes. Call today to find out how a guardianship attorney could help you.