When setting up a guardianship, one of the most pivotal decisions is who to choose as the guardian. This role has significant obligations that can impact the ward’s living situation, including their daily life, access to medical care and other living arrangements. Because of its vital duties, Maryland law also imposes rules when finalizing these guardianship decisions.
The guardian selection process can vary, depending on the ward’s needs and circumstances. State law has guidelines providing an order of succession that also considers the ward’s wishes, such as the following:
- The first option for the role is the person named by the ward before becoming incapacitated.
- Next in line for the position are family members and relatives who show willingness to take on the role.
- Suppose there are no relatives who can become the guardian. In that case, the position can go to someone with a proven interest in occupying the role, such as someone from relevant government agencies, including Social Services or the Office on Aging.
When deciding who to appoint as the guardian, the decision can also vary on a case-to-case basis. Sometimes, the person named by the ward can no longer fulfill their duties, making them ineligible for the role. Even if they can perform guardianship duties, the court may choose someone else if reasonable and appropriate.
Navigating the process of establishing guardianship
Aside from appointing a guardian, establishing this arrangement involves other procedures that can be complex and confusing. It is possible to accomplish all requirements without an attorney. However, having experienced legal guidance can help navigate the process more effectively, possibly saving time and money based on the situation. Additionally, skilled counsel can help include any unique features to the arrangement, tailoring the setup to serve the ward’s welfare and best interests.