Understanding Guardianship Cases

NOTE: Are you a new guardian? Help is available. Download the Adult Guardianship Assistant Program Brochure (PDF) to learn how the court can help you successfully fulfill your guardianship responsibilities.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal procedure in which a Court determines that a person is in need of protection due to ...
  • Severe disabilities, hospitalization, or other impairments that affect his/her ability to make decisions; or
  • His/her status as a minor (under 18 years of age)

... and appoints someone else to act for that person, making decisions about the person, about his/her property, or about both.

Guardianship can be a complex legal matter. An attorney’s services in guiding a family through the guardianship process can be extremely helpful. If your income qualifies, you may also visit the Family Law Self-Help Center for assistance.

Types of Guardianship Cases

There are two types of guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the property. The Petition must state the kind of guardian being requested: guardian of the person, guardian of the property, or both.

Guardianship of the Person

A guardian of the person is responsible for providing proper care (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and making personal decisions for a disabled person or minor about important issues, such as education, finance, health care, etc. One person can serve as both guardian of the person and guardian of the property, or different people may serve in each role.

After the Court appoints a guardian of the person, the guardian has the same rights, powers and duties that a parent has toward an unemancipated minor child.

Guardianship of the Property

A guardian of the property is responsible for appropriately managing the money and other assets of a disabled person or minor and for keeping and safeguarding his/her financial records. The guardian of the property has control over the guardianship estate, or all the property and income that the person owns or to which he/she is entitled. A guardian of the property must act as a fiduciary of the disabled person, which means he/she must act honestly and faithfully to preserve the disabled person's property and to use the assets for the benefit and welfare of the person.

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.


Maryland Rules of Procedure, Title 10. Guardians and Other Fiduciaries, Chapter 100. General Provisions, §§ 10-101 to § 10-712

Maryland Code, Estates and Trusts, Title 13. Protection of Minors and Disabled Persons

Reporting requirements: Maryland Rules § 10-206 (person of disabled person or minor) and §§ 10-706 to § 10-708 (property)

Removal for cause: Maryland Rules § 10-208 (person) and § 10-712 (property)

Reimbursement of Guardianship Expenses: Maryland Code, § 13-218 and § 14.5-708

Termination: Maryland Rules § 10-209 (guardianship of the person) and § 10-710 (guardianship of the property)

Transfer of guardianship to another state: Maryland Code § 13.5-301

Basic Steps in Guardianship Cases

Effective January 1, 2018, before you are appointed to be a guardian of a disabled person or minor, you must watch the Orientation Program for Court-Appointed Guardians to better understand your roles, duties, and responsibilities and what to expect as a guardian.

You or your attorney may file a Petition requesting the Court to appoint a guardian of a minor or alleged disabled person. If the minor or alleged disabled person is a resident of Montgomery County, the Petition must be filed at Montgomery County Circuit Court. The Petition must also be filed at Montgomery County Circuit Court if the person has been admitted for medical care or treatment to a hospital located in Montgomery County and the facility is not a State facility (as defined in Maryland Code, Health-General Article, § 10-406) or a licensed private facility (as defined in Maryland Code, Health-General Article, §§ 10-501 to 10-511). If the minor or alleged disabled person is not a Maryland resident but is physically present in Montgomery County, a Petition for Guardianship of the Person may be filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Upon completion of the required court procedures, the Court may issue an order appointing a guardian “of the person” and/or “of the property” for disabled persons or minors.

Once you become a guardian, visit the Guardianship Training and Reporting Requirements page to learn more about your first obligations to the Court.

Guardianship Filing Fees

Initial filing fee: $165.00 cash, money order, or check (payable to the "Clerk of Court").

Annual Fiduciary Report Filing Fee: A filing fee is due at the time the Annual Fiduciary Report is filed with the Court. Payment may be made from the fiduciary estate by check payable to the “Clerk of the Court”. The filing fee is based on the total value of the assets at the end of the reporting period.

# Total assets at the end of the reporting period Filing fee
1 Under $10,000 $20
2 $10,000 - $25,000 $30
3 Over $25,000 $40

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