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What is a “guardian of the property?”

Ask people in Rockville to define “adult guardianship,” and you are likely to get a general consensus that the topic applies only to those cases where a disabled adult needs constant supervision over every facet of their life. In reality, however, there are different forms of guardianship. The state of Maryland does not take the decision to hand someone’s decision-making powers over to another lightly. Instead, if such action is warranted, it prefers to make its extent as limited as possible. Because of this, the most common form of adult guardianship assigned by state courts is “guardian of the property.” 

If you have a loved who, because of disability, mental health struggles, incapacitation or alcohol and/or substance abuse issues, cannot adequately manage his or her life, that does not necessarily mean they need a guardian to direct everything that they do. Rather, they may simply need assistance in protecting whatever resources they have available to them. In such a case, the court may appoint one to as guardian of the property. According to the Maryland Attorney General’s office, this enables the guardian to perform finance-related functions such as: 

  • Buying and selling property
  • Retaining assets
  • Borrowing money
  • Paying bills
  • Negotiating with creditors

Your loved one may still retain control over all other aspects of daily living, and even may still have final say over certain expenditures. 

Despite being empowered by the court to act in your loved one’s stead, a guardian of the property still has the responsibility to only engage in business that is in your family member or friend’s best interest. If the cumulative value of your loved one’s estate exceeds $10,000, the court may require the guardian to put up a bond to deter them from mishandling the funds they have been entrusted with. 

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