In the state of Maryland, guardianship, called conservatorship in certain other states, refers to a court-appointed individual or entity responsible for making some or all personal and/or financial decisions for another person, either a legally defined “disabled person” or a minor. Perhaps the most famous – or should we say infamous – guardianship case in recent memory is that of Britney Spears and her legal battle with her father/guardian. And while this particular case is full of contention, it is important to note that guardianship can be extremely beneficial for a loved one who is incapacitated and can no longer make sound personal and financial decisions. So, if you have a loved one in need of assistance, guardianship could be the best option. Of course, we are sure you still have a number of questions, including how much does it cost to file for guardianship in Maryland? So, let’s dive right in.
How Much Does it Cost to File for Guardianship in Maryland?
Establishing guardianship is a formal legal process that requires an interested party to file a petition with a Maryland circuit court in the jurisdiction where the alleged disabled person resides or, alternatively, in the county where the alleged disabled person is hospitalized. This initial filing costs $165 – payable by cash, money order, or check (made out to the “Clerk of Court”). Although it will not be a direct expense to the court, There will be separate costs and expenses associated with serving interested persons with notice of the guardianship proceedings
There is also an annual filing fee due at the time the guardian of the property filed the Annual Fiduciary Report with the court that is based on the total value of the assets of the ward’s property at the end of the reporting period.
|$0 to $10,000
|$10,000 to $25,000
If you are considering filing for guardianship, it can be incredibly beneficial to talk to an experienced attorney who will not only be able to help you better understand the entire process and the ramifications of filing, but will also be able to help you through every step of the process. While you may be able to complete some of the documents or forms on your own, it is always best to consult an experienced attorney when planning the future of a loved one.
Finding an Experienced Guardianship Attorney in Maryland
PathFinder Law Group – located in Towson, Maryland – specializes in estate planning, elder law, estate and trust administration, special needs planning and trusts, and guardianship. We can assist clients in filing petitions for incompetence and the appointment of a guardian. Once the guardian is appointed, PathFinder Law Group can help with the court filings and bond renewals as needed. We can also represent a person served with an incompetency proceeding who is interested in challenging the petition.
To contact PathFinder Law Group, please complete our Contact Us form, call (443) 579-4529 or email email@example.com. We are here to guide you through life’s milestones in a way that is compassionate and reassuring.
More Guardianship Frequently Asked Questions
We’re sure you have other questions besides ‘How much does it cost to file for guardianship in Maryland?’ So, let’s explore a few more guardianship FAQs.
What Are the Types of Guardianship?
There are a few different types of guardianship.
- Guardianship of the Property – A guardian of the property manages the ward’s financial affairs. While no two guardianship cases are ever exactly alike, the guardian’s responsibilities and powers can include day-to-day financial management, income collection (rent, pension, Social Security, etc.), property management, paying taxes, and financial planning.
- Guardianship of the Person – A guardian of the person is responsible for making decisions regarding the health and well-being of another person. The guardian’s responsibilities and powers can include managing everyday needs, such as the ward’s food, clothing, housing, healthcare, and even social decisions.
- Guardianship of the Person and Property – In some situations, the court may appoint a single guardian to manage both the personal and financial affairs of another person. The guardian has complete decision-making authority over the other person. This is why Guardianship of the Person and Property is sometimes referred to as “Full Guardianship.”
- Temporary Guardianship – When a person is facing an emergency situation and is temporarily unable to make decisions on their own behalf, a short-term or temporary guardian may be court appointed to make necessary decisions for a period of time. The guardian is typically a family member or close friend. However, the court has the option to appoint a public guardian in emergency situations when an individual has no family or friend to serve as guardian.
Who Can Serve As Legal Guardian?
Those appointed by the court to serve as guardians are typically family members or friends of the ward. However, this is not always the case. The court will try to do what’s in the best interest of the ward. In certain situations, the court may appoint a public guardian, such as an attorney or representative from a local government mental health or social services agency.
What Are the Duties of a Legal Guardian?
The scope of the guardian’s decision-making responsibilities is dependent on the disabled person’s situation. The guardian may have control over Financial Decisions, such as paying bills and taxes, applying for governmental benefits, managing both personal and real property, and managing the ward’s bank accounts, stocks and bonds, trusts, etc. The guardian may also be in charge of Medical Decisions, such as the power to consent to the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of healthcare; employ and discharge healthcare providers; and make discharge or transfer decisions from a hospital or similar institution. And/or the guardian may have control over Personal Decisions, such as clothing, housing, food, transportation, educational needs, etc.
All guardians, no matter the type, have a fiduciary duty to their ward, meaning they have a legal mandate to perform in an honest and responsible manner in the best interest of the ward. Furthermore, the guardian of property must maintain accounts for the ward separate from their own.