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Family members in Maryland typically disagree about how a loved one who is incapacitated should be cared for. This is especially true when a large amount of money happens to be involved. In this situation, the court has the ability to create a guardianship.

A professional guardian is expected to make decisions based on what is in the incapacitated family member's, or ward's, best interests rather than focusing on their own best interests or other family members' interests. The guardianship process begins when a family member or another interested party files a petition for a guardian to be appointed by the court. If a judge believes the vulnerable individual is in imminent danger, an emergency guardian may be appointed temporarily.

Professionals, including a psychiatrist or doctor, will assess whether the vulnerable loved one has the ability to care for himself or herself. If the court determines that the individual is incapacitated, it will appoint a permanent guardian. A professional guardian will be appointed if a family member cannot be appointed; the professional would have had to have completed 40 hours of training, posted a bond of $50,000 and had their credit and criminal histories checked to become registered by the state.

The process of establishing a guardianship in Maryland can be tricky and even overwhelming. However, proper legal guidance may help a person to effectively establish a guardianship for a loved one, taking into consideration all of its drawbacks as well as benefits. People can receive legal assistance with preparing a petition as well as the needed supporting documentation in order to achieve their unique guardianship-related goals.

Source: palmbeachpost.com, "Guardianship: How it works", John Pacenti, Jan. 15, 2016

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