Alternatives to Guardianship in Maryland

Adult guardianship is a measure of last resort. Explore these alternatives first.

If you become incapacitated — meaning you can’t make decisions and manage your affairs due to an illness, disability, or another health condition — the court may appoint someone to act as your guardian. This person will then decide about your medical care, finances, and other important matters.

Adult guardianship greatly limits your rights, so it should only be a recourse of last resort. At Chesapeake Wills & Trusts, we can walk you through less restrictive alternatives to guardianship in Maryland instead.

Alternatives to Guardianship in Maryland

Sometimes, guardianship is necessary. But other times, you may be able to avoid guardianship and maintain your independence as much as possible while still receiving the help you need — if you plan in advance. Here are some possible alternatives to guardianship in Maryland that you may wish to explore:

Durable Power of Attorney (POA)

A durable POA authorizes a trusted person (“agent”) to make various decisions and act on your behalf if you are unavailable or become incapacitated. You set the scope of your agent’s rights and what they can and can’t do in the POA document.

Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney (DHPOA)

With a DHPOA, you can authorize your chosen agent to make decisions about your medical treatments and communicate with your healthcare providers. Note that your healthcare agent can’t speak for you unless you’re unable to make or express your own decisions.

Advance Directive for Healthcare

Also known as a Living Will, an Advance Directive for Healthcare sets out your specific instructions to medical providers about the type and extent of end-of-life care you wish to receive. You may also include provisions about organ donation.

Surrogate Decision-Making

A surrogate decision-maker can consent to medical care on your behalf if you are unable to make your own decisions. However, the surrogate may not authorize any treatment against your wishes.

Revocable Trusts

By putting money and other assets in a trust, you can restrict their use and protect them from mismanagement.

With a revocable living trust, you can appoint yourself as the managing trustee during your lifetime. If you pass away or become incapacitated, a successor trustee designated by you will take over and manage or distribute the assets per your instructions as set out in the trust agreement.

Joint Property Ownership

By placing property under both your name and the name of a trusted person — usually a spouse, partner, or another close family member — you can protect the property from inappropriate handling.

Representative Payee

A representative payee can receive, distribute, and account for government benefits, such as Social Security benefits, on behalf of a disabled person.

Contact an Experienced Maryland Guardianship Lawyer

You may be able to avoid the costs and challenges of guardianship proceedings, but you must act now while you have full capacity. At Chesapeake Wills & Trusts, our legal team can help you explore possible alternatives to guardianship in Maryland. Call (410) 590-1900 to schedule your consultation.

Schedule a Call

Complete the form below and someone from our team will be in touch shortly or call now at 410-590-1900.