If you have a loved one in severe mental decline, you may wonder if you can take the legal responsibility of caring for your family member. If an illness or disability makes it impossible for someone to make medical care or financial decisions, state law allows for a person to step in as a guardian.
State law separates care responsibilities into two kinds of guardians. If you want to know more about these guardianships, the Maryland courts site provides explanations of their duties.
Guardian of the property
In some cases, a person has a disability that allows for some measure of independence but not enough to handle financial matters. Your relative might struggle with preparing and filing taxes, maintaining bank accounts, or paying off bills.
If a Maryland court appoints you as a guardian of the property, you take charge of financial responsibilities for your relative. In addition to paying bills and taxes, you can also apply for government services for your loved one.
Guardian of the person
The other type of guardian maintains duties that do not involve financial matters. These include housing decisions, food, clothing, and health care. Basically, as a guardian of the person, you will take charge of meeting all the needs of your relative day by day.
State law permits different people to assume each guardianship type. You may want someone with the appropriate skills to take on one of the guardianships in your stead. However, it is possible for a single individual to take on both roles.
Additionally, there are guardianship alternatives so you do not have to limit the rights of your loved one. With some careful planning, you may preserve as much independence as possible for your relative.