As of January 1, 2018, rules related to Court-Appointed Guardians, Guardianship’s, and Attorneys changed. In this week’s #TuesdayTips article, the attorneys of ERA Law Group remind our readers the purpose of a Guardianship and what rules have changed.
Many people find themselves in a precarious situation when their spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc. are no longer able to feed themselves regularly, pay their bills, see the doctor, and just generally not take care of their person or finances. When a person is no longer able to appropriately care for themselves or manage their property, it is important to ensure that they are protected. To do so, a Petition for Guardianship of the Person, Property, or both is filed with the Court.
When filing a Petition for Guardianship of the Person and/or Property, the Petitioner is seeking the Court to declare the alleged disabled person incompetent and therefore unable to care for themselves and/or manage their property/finances. This would let the Petitioner, when appointed Guardian, to act on behalf of the alleged disabled person and make sure they are taken care of physically and financially.
The Petition itself requires various information about the alleged disabled person, including but not limited to their finances, the purpose of the filing, the diagnosis, etc. Attached as exhibits, the Petition also requires two certificates completed by two different medical providers who have evaluated the alleged disabled person. After filing, the Court will appoint the alleged disabled person an attorney to represent them in the proceeding. The Petitioners will also be required to notify certain people and facilities that would need to be made aware of the Petition. Finally, there will be a hearing to decide whether the findings are such that the Court will declare the person incompetent and appoint a Guardian, presumably the Petitioner.
Being declared incompetent is not something Maryland Judges take lightly. In fact, in order to provide even more protection to these vulnerable adults, members of the Maryland Guardianship Work Group worked actively to change certain rules.
As of January 1, 2018, the following changes were made:
- There are new certificate requirements to be completed depending on whether the medical provider is a physician, psychologist, or licensed certified clinical social worker.
- There are now training and eligibility requirements for Court Appointed Attorneys for alleged disabled persons.
- Appointed Guardians are now required to undergo an orientation and training so that they have knowledge of their new roles as Guardians of the Person and/or Property of the disabled person.
- Additional factors for the Court to consider when determining whether to appoint someone a Guardian who has been convicted of a serious offense or when to require a Guardian to post a bond.
The health, safety, and wellbeing of your friend or family member is of utmost importance. Call the attorneys at ERA Law Group, LLC today to help navigate you through this process.