As an English colony, Maryland inherited the same laws and customs as England. Originally, Maryland’s governor was appointed by the crown. He was therefore the Guardian of those living within Maryland and had the responsibility to protect them.
Over time English common law became Maryland common law. The common law eventually became statutes. The court system was established to provide a system in which cases are heard in order to interpret how to apply the statutes.
In Maryland, a guardianship may become necessary when an individual fails to appropriately institute an estate plan, a Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive. The matter commonly arises when a person who failed to plan for future disability becomes mentally disabled and cannot reasonably manage their property, affairs, or can no longer make proper health care decisions.
Guardianships cases are formal court proceedings usually heard in the jurisdiction where the “alleged disabled person” resides. Based on a number of facts brought into evidence, the court will make a determination as to whether the judicial appointment of guardian of person and/or property is warranted. If so, the court will use its judgment to appoint who it believes is the most appropriate person(s) to serve assume the guardianship. The guardian then acts as the court’s agent to protect that disabled individual.
Guardianships are typically expensive in terms of legal fees, time management and stress levels in comparison to normal estate planning.