Navigating the Path: Understanding the Guardianship Process in Maryland

Yollette Atkinson June 11, 2024

Introduction to the Maryland Guardianship Process

Guardianship is a legal process designed to protect individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to age, disability, or other circumstances. In Maryland, the guardianship process can seem daunting and complex, but understanding its steps and requirements is essential for anyone considering or involved in such proceedings. In this article, we will delve into the guardianship process in Maryland, shedding light on its intricacies and providing guidance for those embarking on this journey.

Understanding Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal relationship where one person, the guardian, is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of another person, the ward. The ward may be a minor, an adult with a disability, or an elderly individual unable to manage their affairs independently. Guardianship grants the guardian authority to make decisions regarding the ward's personal, financial, and healthcare matters.

Types of Guardianship in Maryland

In Maryland, there are two main types of guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the property.

Guardianship of the Person: This type of guardianship empowers the guardian to make decisions concerning the ward's personal affairs, such as healthcare, living arrangements, and daily activities.

Guardianship of the Property: Guardianship of the property grants the guardian authority over the ward's financial matters, including managing assets, paying bills, and making financial investments on behalf of the ward.

The Guardianship Process

The process of establishing guardianship in Maryland typically involves several steps, each designed to ensure the best interests of the ward are protected. Petition for Guardianship: The process begins with the filing of a petition for guardianship with the appropriate court. The petitioner, who is usually a family member or concerned individual, submits the petition along with supporting documentation detailing the need for guardianship and the proposed guardian's qualifications.

Appointment of Counsel: In Maryland, the court appoints an attorney to represent the alleged disabled person (ADP) in guardianship proceedings. This attorney ensures that the ADP's rights and interests are safeguarded throughout the process.

Evaluation by a Physician or Mental Health Professional: The court may require an evaluation by a physician or mental health professional to assess the alleged disabled person's capacity and determine whether guardianship is warranted. The evaluator submits a report to the court, which informs the judge's decision.

Hearing: A hearing is held to determine whether guardianship is necessary and who should serve as the guardian. The petitioner, the ADP, and other interested parties may present evidence and testimony to support their positions. The court carefully considers all relevant factors before making a decision.

Appointment of Guardian: If the court determines that guardianship is appropriate, it will issue an order appointing a guardian of the person, guardian of the property, or both. The appointed guardian assumes responsibility for carrying out the duties outlined by the court.

Responsibilities of the Guardian

Once appointed, a guardian in Maryland has various responsibilities to fulfill in the best interests of the ward. These responsibilities may include:

  • Making decisions regarding the ward's healthcare, living arrangements, and personal affairs.

  • Managing the ward's finances, assets, and property prudently.

  • Advocating for the ward's rights and interests.

  • Maintaining regular contact with the ward and keeping them informed about important decisions.

  • Submitting periodic reports to the court detailing the ward's status and the guardian's actions.

Termination of Guardianship

Guardianship in Maryland is not necessarily permanent and may be terminated under certain circumstances. Some common reasons for terminating guardianship include:

  • Improvement in the ward's condition or capacity to make decisions independently.

  • Death of the ward or guardian.

  • Change in circumstances warranting a modification or termination of guardianship.

  • Court determination that guardianship is no longer necessary or in the ward's best interests.


The guardianship process in Maryland is a critical legal mechanism designed to protect individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves. While navigating this process can be challenging, understanding its steps and requirements is essential for ensuring the welfare and rights of the ward are upheld. By following the prescribed procedures and working closely with legal professionals, concerned individuals can provide invaluable support and assistance to those in need of guardianship, ultimately promoting their well-being and quality of life.

Contact an Experienced Maryland Guardianship Law Firm

Contact Atkinson Law online or call 410-882-9595 (Baltimore office) or 443-384-0013 (Bel Air Office) to schedule your initial consultation to discuss your guardianship or related legal matter today.