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Passing on the potential of being an adult guardian

Witnessing a family member or friend having to deal with the restraints of incapacity can be heartbreaking. Most value their independence, and as such, also want others to enjoy theirs as much as possible. Yet sometimes, intercession is often required in order for one not fully capable of supporting themselves to be protected. Accepting the responsibility of acting as a guardian, however, can be quite a challenge. 

The priorities of appointment for adult guardianships have been detailed on this blog in the past. A quick review of them reveals that the courts favor family members or those with whom the proposed ward already has an established relationship. For some of those legally viewed as being the best to assume the role of guardian, the job may seem too overwhelming. In such a case, the need to protect the ward must be balanced by the reluctance to not overburden another with such an awesome responsibility. Fortunately, the law offers a potential solution. 

Section 13-707 of Maryland’s Estates and Trust Code shows that one in position to be appointed as an adult guardian can waive their right of priority and nominate another to serve in their stead. If this happens, the nominee assumes the same priority of appointment. That nominee can be a person, an agency or an organization. 

Waiving the right to be the adult guardian of a loved one is not a decision that should be taken lightly, however. One should remember that an adult guardian can be endowed with authority to make several pivotal decisions in a ward’s life, including things like: 

  • Medical care
  • Residency 
  • Property ownership

If one is concerned about an adult guardian being given too much power, Section 13-708(a) of the state’s statutes says that guardianship responsibilities can be limited both in scope and duration.

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