During these trying times, a hot topic in our state has been guardianships and conservatorships. Indeed, even the Maryland Judiciary published guidance for court-appointed guardians that take care of both people and property, and they are applicable to any emergency situation.
During times of great economic uncertainty, like now, our state’s judiciary takes additional monitoring steps to ensure that guardians are protecting the personal and financial well-being of those under their charge. This is because, even in extreme situations, the duties of court-appointed guardians do not change.
The guardian is always expected to perform their ordered duties. This includes filing their annual reports on their ward’s wellbeing, in addition to Fiduciary Accounts and bond proof. Of course, extensions can be granted, but they must be requested and approved by the court before doing anything not approved by the court.
Ensure that the guardian is only executing allowable power
Just because a guardian has been given responsibility over a ward does not necessarily mean they have unfettered responsibility. A guardian’s responsibilities and duties are outlined by the judge in the guardianship order. This means that if a ward needs a medical procedure that has a substantial risk of death or disability, the court may need to approve. In addition, if the guardian wishes to move the ward to a new location, the court may likely need to be notified. Indeed, any major change in life circumstances or health may require court approval or at least notice.
There are times in life where a guardian may not be able to fulfill their duties. Life happens. And, if it does, and one is unable to care for their ward, notify the court immediately. The guardian must still take steps to protect the person under guardianship though, until the court can make alternate arraignments or appoint a new Greenbelt, Maryland, guardian.