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Trust Office

Trust Office

Location, Phone, Hours of Operation
Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court
North Tower 2nd floor, Rm 2400
Phone: (240) 777-9175
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
 

Guardianship FAQs

I.General Questions Regarding Truest Office

II. General Questions Regarding Guardianship

III. Questions Regarding Reports Required to be Filed

IV. Questions Regarding Termination of Guardianship

IV. A dditional questions/concerns

 

I. What does the Trust Office do?

The general function of the Trust Office includes administering the reporting requirements and maintenance of the case files for active guardianships of the person of disabled persons, guardianships of the property of disabled persons, guardianships of the property of minors, and other fiduciary estates having been ordered under the jurisdiction of Montgomery County Circuit Court, Maryland. After an Order of Court has been issued appointing a permanent guardian or ordering that the fiduciary estate be placed under the jurisdiction of the Court, the case file is relocated within the Courthouse from Central Files to the Trust Office in North Tower 2nd floor, Rm 2400.

The Trust Office staff consists of the Trust Clerk and the Trust Office Administrative Assistant. The specific functions handled by the Trust Office include notifying guardians concerning the reports and other documents required to be filed pursuant to the Maryland Rules and Order(s) of Court issued in each case.

The reports required to be filed by guardians of the property are the Inventory and Information Report due within 60 days from the date of appointment and the Annual Fiduciary Report with supporting documents due each year within 60 days after the end of the guardianship year. The report required to be filed by guardians of the person of a disabled person is the Annual Report due each year within 60 days after the end of the guardianship year.

The Annual Fiduciary Reports filed by guardians of the property are examined by the Trust Clerk. Upon completion of the examination, the Trust Clerk prepares the Report of Trust Clerk, which sets forth matters to be called to the attention of the Court and includes the recommendation that the Annual Fiduciary Report be accepted by the Court through an executed Order of Court or that the matter of the acceptance be scheduled for a hearing that the guardian is required to attend. For the Annual Report filed by guardians of the person of a disabled person, the Court reviews the report and either enters an order accepting the report and continuing the guardianship or takes other appropriate action.

Because of the reporting and other filing requirements, guardians are required to notify the Trust Office of a change of address and/or the phone number as soon as possible by phone or in writing.

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II. General Questions Regarding Guardianship

How does one become a guardian of the person and/or property of a disabled person or minor?

An interested person may file a petition requesting the Circuit Court to appoint a guardian of a minor or a disabled person (an ‘alleged disabled person’). Click here for additional information.

Does one person need to be guardian of both the person and the property?

More than one person or a different person(s) can be appointed as guardian of the person and/or guardian of the property. For a guardianship with more than one guardian, however, any report required by law generally needs to be signed by all co-guardians.

What is a “Resident Agent”?

A guardian who is a nonresident of Maryland is required to designate a resident agent before commencing guardianship duties. The resident agent is a person who resides in Maryland on whom service of process may be made in the same manner and with the effect as if it were served personally in Maryland on the nonresident guardian. If a resident agent has not been designated by a nonresident guardian prior to appointment, the guardian and resident agent are required to complete and file with the Trust Office an Appointment of Resident Agent form. The Trust Office will mail notice of this requirement and a blank form to the guardian. If a guardian moves and is no longer a resident of Maryland, the guardian is required to designate a resident agent by filing an Appointment of Resident Agent form.

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What are the Maryland laws concerning the duties and powers of a guardian of the property and person?

The Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts Article §15-102 covers the powers of a fiduciary (the guardianship of the property) and §13-708 defines the rights, duties and powers of guardian (the guardianship of the person).

What is the proper way to title the assets under guardianship?

Guardianship assets that include bank accounts, savings and loan association or other financial institution accounts, and tangible personal assets and intangible assets other than securities are to be titled in the name of the guardian as guardian for the disabled person or minor: (Guardian’s name), Guardian for (name of the disabled person or minor)

Securities held by the guardian are to be titled in the name of the guardian or in the name of a nominee or in other form without disclosure of the interest of the fiduciary estate (Maryland Rule 10-704(a)(2)). Securities in the name of the disabled person and which the guardian has physical possession of may be retained in the name of the disabled person.

Real estate does not need to be titled in the name of the guardian if the real property is located in Montgomery County or a copy of the Order appointing the guardian has been filed in Land Records in the jurisdiction where the property is located. ( Maryland Rule 10-704)

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Is the guardian of the property ordered to provide a bond?

A bond may be obtained from an insurance company or agency. The guardian is required to file the bond originally signed by the guardian with the Trust Office before commencing the performance of guardianship duties. A new bond may be assessed or an existing bond amount may be increased or decreased at any such time as the Court may deem appropriate and issue an Order accordingly. The bond premium may be paid from the income of the guardianship estate. The guardian is required to submit substantiating documentation that the bond remains in effect each year with the filing of the Annual Fiduciary Report.

What is a “Restricted Account”?

The Court may order that guardianship funds be placed into a restricted account which means that any withdrawals by the guardian will require Court approval by order. An Acknowledgment of Deposit of Restricted Account form [link] is required to be completed and returned to the Trust Office by the bank or other financial institution at which the funds are deposited within 60 days of the date of the appointment of the guardian. The Trust Office will mail a reminder notice of this requirement with a blank form to the guardian.

The restricted account should be registered as follows:

(Name of a guardian), Guardian for (Name of a disabled person or a minor), a Disabled Person/Minor, Subject to Withdrawal Only by Order of Montgomery County Circuit Court, Maryland

To request the Court approval for a withdrawal of funds, the guardian is required to file a Petition with an accompanying proposed order and substantiating documentation. In the Petition, the guardian should explain the amount, purpose and justification for the use of the funds and indicate that the substantiating documentation is attached to the petition.

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What if a guardian wants to modify or terminate the guardianship or wants the Court to approve a specific action regarding the guardianship?

Generally, a petition with the Court requesting authorization from or a ruling by the Court concerning a specified action is required to be filed.

Matters requiring authorization from the Court for which a petition is required to be filed by the guardian of the property include:

Certain matters requiring authorization from the Court for which a petition is required to be filed by the guardian of the person of a disabled person, including any change in the classification of abode; for example, from a private home to assisted living or to a nursing home (for additional information and exceptions, see the Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts Article §13-708)

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What does a guardian need to include in a petition requesting a specific action regarding guardianship?

The first section of the Petition should include:

The format of the petition generally is double-spaced, numbered paragraphs. Supporting documents are attached as exhibits.

The second section of the Petition is a certificate of service also signed by the petitioner in which the petitioner certifies that the Petitioner has provided by mail or delivery a copy of the Petition on the day stated to the interested person(s) listed.

An accompanying proposed order is required to be filed with the petition.

The Court allows 18 days if the copy of the Petition is sent to the interested person(s) by mail, or 15 days if delivered in person, for the interested person(s) to file an opposition or otherwise respond to the Petition before the Court rules on the Petition. A Judge will rule on the Petition and either approve or deny it on the proposed order as submitted or as modified by the Judge or require that a hearing be held concerning the Petition. The executed Order or, if applicable, notice of hearing will be mailed to the petitioner.

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Can a guardian of the property be compensated for his/her guardianship service?

A guardian of the property pursuant to Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts Article §13-218 and 14-103 is entitled to the same compensation and reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses as the trustee of a trust. The commissions are payable to the guardian of the property from the guardianship estate after the Annual Fiduciary Report, which includes a worksheet for the calculation of the commissions earned, has been examined by the Trust Clerk and an Order has been signed approving the Annual Fiduciary Report and, if applicable, stating the revised amount of the guardian’s commissions earned.

The guardian may require the assistance of a tax adviser concerning the income tax implications including reporting requirements such as Form 1099 Misc. which may be applicable concerning the guardian's commissions earned and paid.

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III. Questions Regarding Reports Required to be Filed

The following reports are required to be filed pursuant to Maryland Rule 10-206 (person of disabled person) and Maryland Rules 10-706 through 10-708 (property):

The Trust Office will mail a notification letter and a blank report form to the guardian concerning the filing of each of the reports; however, non-receipt by the guardian of the letter and form does not in itself excuse the guardian from the requirement to comply with the filing due date.

For a guardianship with more than one guardian, one report signed by all co-guardians is generally required.

When does a guardian need to file the guardianship reports?

Annual Report is required to be filed by the guardian of the person of a disabled person no later than 60 days after the anniversary of the date of appointment. The Court reviews the Annual Report and either enters an Order accepting the Annual Report and continuing the guardianship or takes other appropriate action.

Inventory and Information Report is required to be filed by the guardian of the property of the disabled person or minor within 60 days after the date of appointment. The date of appointment is the day the Order is signed appointing the guardian. Generally, for cases in which the guardian was previously appointed temporary guardian, the date of appointment is deemed to be the temporary appointment date and the Inventory and Information Report is allowed to be filed within sixty days after the date of permanent appointment.

Annual Fiduciary Report (Fiduciary's Account) is required to be filed by the guardian of the property of the disabled person or minor each year within 60 days of the anniversary date of the date of appointment. For a guardianship reporting period that ends on a day other than the last day of a month, the last day of the preceding or succeeding month may be used as the reporting cutoff day (but the actual guardianship accounting period should be filled in on page 1).

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How much is the filing fee applicable to the Annual Fiduciary Report?

A filing fee is due and payable with the filing of the Annual Fiduciary Report by check made payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court and is for an amount based on the total value of the assets at the end of the accounting period as follows:

Total Assets at End of Period Fee Amount Due

Total Assets at End of Period Fee Amount Due
Total Assets Amount Due
Under $10,000 $20
$10,000 to $25,000 $30
Over $25,000 $40

What would happen if a guardian failed to file a report on time?

Failure to file a required guardianship report will cause a Show Cause Order to be issued and a hearing before the Court to be scheduled. This Order will require the guardian to show cause at a Court hearing why he/she should not be removed as guardian for failure to perform a guardianship duty and/or comply with an Order. If a delinquent report or other document is filed with the Trust Office within five working days of the hearing date and is determined to be sufficient, the guardian will be contacted concerning the status of the hearing. Failure to appear at a Show Cause Hearing may result in the immediate removal of the guardian and/or the issuance of a body attachment which authorizes the Sheriff’s department to locate and detain the guardian until the guardian can appear before a Judge. The matter may further be turned over to the State’s Attorney Office for investigation and criminal prosecution. The Maryland Rules concerning removal for cause are §10-208 (person) and 10-712 (property).

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Can a guardian get extensions for filing the guardianship reports and, if so, how?

An extension of time to file the Inventory and Information Report, Annual Fiduciary Report or Annual Report for 30 days past the original due date may be granted by the Trust Office upon receipt from the guardian of a written request stating reasonable cause. An additional extension of time over 30 days will require the filing of a petition with an accompanying proposed order to be ruled on by the Court.

What needs to be included in the Inventory and Information Report?

The assets and indebtedness to be reported in the Inventory and Information Report are those in existence and valued at the fair market value determined by the guardian as of the date of appointment. Valuations are required to be for exact amounts and stated in dollars and cents. Unless the Court directs otherwise, employing an appraiser to make any valuation is not required.

For a guardianship of a minor in which the funds and/or other assets comprising the guardianship estate remain to be received, the Inventory and Information Report is required to be timely filed and completed by the guardian with a statement providing a description, source, estimated valuation and estimated date of receipt for each asset. Upon receipt of the funds and/or other assets, the guardian is required to file an amended Inventory and Information Report and attach to it a copy of the proceeds check(s) or other original source document stating the description and valuation of funds or other assets received on behalf of the minor.

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What needs to be included in the Annual Fiduciary Report (Fiduciary's Account)?

The Annual Fiduciary Report is a comprehensive report consisting of the following sections:

Assets as of the Beginning and End of the Reporting Period (Part I, pages 1 - 2) The assets and values reported at the beginning of the period should equal the assets and values last reported. For the first Annual Fiduciary Report, the assets and values last reported should be those reported in the Inventory and Information Report as both represent assets and values as of the date of appointment. If the assets and/or values reported in the original Inventory and Information Report are inaccurate or incomplete, an Amended Inventory and Information Report is required to be filed along with the first Annual Fiduciary Report. For the second and later Annual Fiduciary Reports, the beginning assets and values reported should be the same as those reported for the ending of the period in the Annual Fiduciary Report filed for the preceding year to include amended valuations made during the examination of the report by the Trust Clerk and for which the guardian received notice.

Income (Part II-A, page 3) includes funds received reported by date, received from, type of income, and amount. Type of income includes earnings; pensions and other retirement benefits; social security benefits; rental income; annuities; dividends paid or reinvested; and interest earned on checking accounts, money market accounts, saving accounts, certificates of deposit, time deposits, loans receivable, etc.; refunds; etc. Income may be reported at the gross amount incurred rather than the net amount received with the related deductions for income taxes, expenses, etc. being reported in disbursements. The income receipts should be entered in date sequence as received by account. (See Changes in Assets, Part III below concerning the reporting of sales proceeds received on assets sold during the period.)

Disbursements (Part II-B, page 4) include funds withdrawn or paid from cash or cash accounts to include cash accounts contained in investment brokerage accounts and are reported by date, payee, purpose and amount. The disbursements should be entered in date sequence as paid by account. (See Changes in Assets, Part III below concerning the costs of assets purchased during the period.)

Changes in Assets (Part III, page 5) pertains to assets generally other than cash accounts, such as real estate; stocks, bonds and other investments; equipment to include computers; vehicles; furniture and fixtures; jewelry; art; other personal property; cash value of life insurance; etc. Transactions to be reported in this section include sales and other dispositions of assets and the increase or decrease due to appreciation or decline in the market value of assets existing since the beginning of the period or since being acquired during the period. (Cash account transactions, other than transactions pertaining to the sales price and related selling costs of assets sold or the cost of assets purchased during the period, are reported in the Income and Disbursements sections of the report rather than in the Changes in the Assets section. The cash accounts include checking accounts, money market accounts, saving accounts, credit union accounts, certificates of deposit, time deposits, etc.)

Summary reconciliation of fiduciary estate (Part IV, page 6) serves as the proof that the accounting presented in the report is in balance. The values entered on the summary should equal the totals from the sections of the report for beginning values on page 2, income on page 3, disbursements on page 4 and changes in value on page 5. The summary total should equal the total ending values reported on page 2 before the report is ready to be filed. If the accounting contained in the report does not balance, methods to find errors include rechecking entries and addition, comparing transactions stated in the report to those shown on the bank or other statements in order to identify transactions omitted and other discrepancies and reviewing the transactions reported for each asset account separately from the beginning to the ending of the period to make sure each account balances.

Guardian's commissions worksheet (page 7) is provided for the computation of the guardian's commissions being claimed.

Supporting documents are required to be submitted with the Annual Fiduciary Report to substantiate the assets values and transactions being reported and include all bank, other financial institutions and investment company account statements applicable to the entire reporting period; cancelled checks; settlement statements on the sale or purchase of real property; deeds, motor vehicle titles, etc. for assets purchased during the period; etc. Receipts or other underlying original source documents are required to be submitted for disbursements that include payments made by check for which the cancelled check is not available or the payee information is not printed on the account statement, checks made payable to cash or to the guardian, payments for credit card charges, and withdrawals of cash, etc. If the guardian is under bond, substantiating documentation that the bond remains in effect is also required to be submitted. Original documents may be submitted, which will be returned at the conclusion of the examination of the Annual Fiduciary Report or copies may be submitted, which are only returned if their return is requested at the time the copies are submitted. Copies being submitted for cancelled checks should be of the checks after they have been cashed by the financial institution and generally a copy of only the face side of the cancelled check is sufficient. Also to be provided pertaining to each cash account for which it may be applicable is a reconciliation to identify deposits in transit, outstanding checks, etc. so that the account balance shown on the statement provided for the end of the period will agree to the valuation at the end of the period reported in the Annual Fiduciary Report.

Please note:

If the report format presented in Maryland Rule 10-708 entitled Fiduciary’s Account is to be used instead of the Annual Fiduciary Report form provided by the Trust Office, two additional schedules are required to be submitted as part of the report filing. The two schedules are 1) if applicable, a schedule of the rise or decline in the fair market values of assets such as investments (but not CD’s, time deposits, etc.), real property, personal property, etc. incurred during the reporting period and 2) a summary reconciliation of the accounting transactions being reported to serve as a proof that the report is in balance.

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IV. Questions Regarding Termination of Guardianship

Can an existing guardianship be terminated or modified?

A guardianship can be modified or terminated by Order of Court. In order to obtain an Order of Court, a petition to the Court is required to be filed. The Maryland Rules pertaining to termination are Maryland Rules 10-209 (guardianship of the person) and 10-710 (guardianship of the property).

What will happen to a guardianship when the disabled person dies?

The death of the disabled person is cause for termination of the guardianship. The guardian is required to notify the Trust Office of the date of death as soon as possible. The documents required to be filed by the guardian of the property to terminate the guardianship pursuant to Maryland Rule 10-710 are:

The documents are due to be filed with the Trust Office within 45 days after the date the guardian discovers that the disabled person has died. Upon receiving notification of the death, the Trust Office will send to the guardian a cover letter with an Annual Fiduciary Report form and a sample petition and proposed order. If the guardian is under bond, a copy of the signed Order terminating the guardianship once received by the guardian should be included with the request made by the guardian to the bonding company to discontinue the bond. Probate proceedings for the estate of the deceased disabled person may be commenced in the applicable jurisdiction on the date of death. For additional information concerning probate proceedings for the estate of the deceased disabled person in Montgomery County, contact the Register of Wills at (240) 777-9600 ( 50 Maryland Avenue, North Tower 3rd floor, Room 3220, Rockville Maryland 20850).

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What will happen to a guardianship when the minor reaches the age of majority?

A minor reaching his/her age of majority, which is 18 years of age, is cause for termination of the guardianship of the minor. The documents required to be filed by the guardian of the person and/or property of a minor to terminate the guardianship are:

The Receipt and Release form serves to document the final distribution of the remaining assets in the fiduciary estate to the now former minor unto his/her own right. The amount to be entered in the blank space provided on the Receipt and Release form should generally equal the total assets at the end of the period reported in the final accounting. The now former minor is required to sign the form before a notary public thereby acknowledging receipt of the assets previously held in trust by the guardian.

The documents are due to be filed with the Trust Office within 45 days after the date of majority. On the first day of the month in which the minor turns 18, the Trust Office will send to the guardian a cover letter with a blank Annual Fiduciary Report form, a sample of the petition and proposed order and a blank Receipt and Release form. If the guardian is under bond, a copy of the signed Order terminating the guardianship once received by the guardian should be included with the request made by the guardian to the bonding company to discontinue the bond.

What will happen if a guardian and a disabled person or a minor under his/her guardianship are moving out of Montgomery County, Maryland?

If a guardian and disabled person or minor relocate to another county in Maryland and no guardianship property remains located in Montgomery County, Maryland, a petition with an accompanying proposed order requesting that the guardianship case be transferred to the new county may be filed.

If the guardian and disabled person or minor relocate outside of Maryland and no guardianship property remains located in Montgomery County, Maryland, then a petition to transfer the guardianship to another state provisionally should be filed with the Montgomery County Circuit Court and a petition to terminate the guardianship needs to be filed after the guardianship is accepted by the court to which the proceeding will be transferred according to the Annotated Code of Maryland Estates and Trusts Article §13.5-301. The documents required to be filed for termination include a final accounting with supporting documents and a petition to terminate guardianship with verifying documentation of the acceptance of the guardianship in the new jurisdiction attached to it as an exhibit and with an accompanying proposed order.

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V. For additional questions/concerns

The address and phone number for the Trust Office are:

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Montgomery County Circuit Court
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM