Guardianship is a legal procedure by which a court seeks “to protect those who, because of illness or other disability, are unable to care for themselves.” Kircherer v. Kicherer, 285 Md. 114, 118, 400 A.2d 1097 (1979).
Guardianship is established for any person who is determined to be under a disability and can not handle his or her own affairs. Once a guardianship has been established, the guardian has all authority to act and speak on behalf of the dependent. The are two forms of guardianship: adult guardianship and minor guardianship. The need for a minor guardianship arises when the natural parents of a minor child have either died or become disabled to the extent that they can no longer care for the needs of the child. If the parents established by will or power of attorney that a particular person should serve as the child’s guardian, the court will naturally have a preference to that named individual.The court still must hear evidence to show that the placement will be in the child’s best interest. In adult guardianship, an interested party petitions the court to become the guardian. It must be determined first that the individual is in fact is disabled and unable to handle his or her own daily affairs and then it must be determined that the petitioner is the best person to do this.
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