When family members grow older or are disabled, they may be in need of a little extra help. When this happens, a court may appoint someone to act as the guardian of another individual. This may happen if that individual is unable to take care of their own needs, whether they may be personal or financial. If you have been appointed as a guardian, it is important to understand your new role.
What is Guardianship?
When a person is unable to manage their own personal and financial matters, they may need someone to handle these things for them. Becoming someone’s guardian enables an individual to take care of these tasks for an elder or a disabled individual. A court may appoint an individual to this position, or they may assume the position themselves. Often times, a family member or loved one may step into this role to take care of the person in need.
What are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?
In the state of Maryland, a person who assumes the role of guardian for another individual’s property or money is also known as a fiduciary. There are certain responsibilities that come with the position of a guardian for another individual. The guardian is required to complete tasks on behalf of the elder or disabled person. When doing so, they are also required to make decisions that are in the individual’s best interest. Everything a guardian does for them should be with the intention of improving or maintaining the individual’s welfare and health. No decisions that are made should be corrupt or done selfishly.
Specific tasks of guardian require them to manage the individual’s properties and money very carefully. All finances should be handled the way the individual would have handled them themselves. They must also be kept separately from the guardian’s own finances. To be safe, it may help a guardian to keep a record of all matters relating to the finances of the individual they are caring for. This way, a guardian may assure a court that they are doing their job properly.
Guardians also serve a responsibility to the court. In addition to proving their capability to make decisions for another, a guardian must do the following:
- Pay bills and taxes on time
- Ensure the individual lives in a safe environment
- Keep receipts of expenses
- Make an inventory of all assets to the individual
- Ensure all healthcare needs are met
Choosing a Guardian
It is possible for an individual to choose their own guardian. Before they are unable to take care of themselves, a person may wish to appoint someone to be their guardian for the future. This can be done through an estate plan that is created when the individual is mentally capable of doing so. When choosing a guardian, it is crucial to appoint someone who may be trusted to not take advantage of you in any way.
Contact our Firm
If you have been appointed as a guardian or are looking to create an estate plan to appoint your own, contact JD Katz, Attorneys at Law today.
The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.