daughter caring for her elderly mother

Legal Guardianships

Maryland and DC Adult Guardianship Attorney

Legal Guardianships

DC and Maryland Adult Guardianship Attorney

If you or a loved one becomes disabled and cannot manage your own financial, health, or other personal affairs, what will you do? You know that it is essential to protect your finances and healthcare should you become unable to do so, and an adult guardianship may be the solution needed to make sure this happens.

With over 13 years of family law experience, we at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl can appreciate the dilemmas your loved ones may face should you become disabled or unable to care for yourself or make important life decisions. Our firm has helped many families find solutions to issues surrounding adult guardianship so that their vulnerable relative gets the protection they need for decision-making involving their personal life, medical care, and financial accounts.

How Does Adult Guardianship Work?

Pursuing adult guardianship is a court process requesting that an individual be authorized to act for the court in managing a vulnerable loved’s care and/or property. Typically, this action is necessary when the following two conditions occur:
 
  • There are no other alternatives available, like a financial power of attorney, and,
  • A physician, social worker or psychologist, has determined this relative is disabled and cannot make responsible health care or financial decisions because of their impairment. 
 
When petitioning for adult guardianship over a relative, the court will demand evidence and testimony to decide. If the court agrees with your demand, it will issue a court order appointing you as guardian. Keep in mind that the court maintains jurisdiction over the vulnerable adult and relies on you to act as its agent to carry out its responsibilities.

Guardianship Types

If you need to take care of an elderly grandmother or special needs relative, this form of guardianship gives you the authority to provide for their everyday needs. This could include many of the following:
 
  • Clothing
  • Housing
  • Food
  • Health care decisions
  • Social interactions
 
As their guardian, you have to advocate for their best interests.
 

Guardian of Property 

Financial preservation and decision-making are critical aspects of this guardianship type. You will need to make financial decisions on their behalf that benefit them, including on issues of:
 
  • Property management
  • Paying their creditors
  • Applying them for government benefits
  • Income collection
 

Guardian of both the Person and Property

This is simply a combination of both previously mentioned guardianship types, though the court has the discretion to assign different people to handle financial affairs versus personal.
 
Generally, it would be best if you considered adult guardianship actions as a last resort because there are no other alternatives available. 

How DC and Maryland Courts Make Guardianship Decisions

Ultimately, you will have to rely on your local court to decide whether your family member is disabled to the point they no longer have the legal capacity to handle their daily affairs. This determination is usually made based on submitted medical evidence provided by a qualified medical provider.

Typically, proving disability in these cases requires at least two doctors or a doctor and a certified clinical social worker to submit verification certificates regarding a disabled family member’s diagnosis. Certifications of this type play a significant role in a court determining if an individual is genuinely incapable of handling their own affairs. An experienced family law attorney can assist you in this delicate process and advise how to ensure your loved one has their best interests protected throughout the process.

Our Guardianship Attorneys Will Help You Take Care of Someone Else

Discussing the possibility of pursuing an adult guardianship action is a sensitive topic that can leave your vulnerable loved one angry or confused. Hiring our firm to assist you in this delicate process can help avoid these stressful conversations and promote peace of mind about their future. Contact The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl to learn more at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280, or reach us online to book your consultation today. Our skilled attorneys practice this law area every day and provide in-depth answers to your pressing questions regarding adult guardianship.

Let Us Help You With Your Case