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What Is a Guardian of the Property?

Angel M Murphy


  • In Maryland, a "guardian of the property" is appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs of individuals incapable of doing so themselves.
  • This role may be fulfilled by an attorney, and while legal expertise is not mandatory, an attorney can be appointed if needed.
  • The process involves filing a petition with the court, demonstrating the capacity to handle financial, legal, and tax matters.
  • The appointed guardian must keep accurate records, act within the law and court orders, and involve the disabled person, along with their support network, in financial decisions.
  • The guardian is ultimately accountable for decisions made on behalf of the disabled person.
What Is a Guardian of the Property?

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Various states use different terminology to define guardians and conservators. In most states, a “guardian” is a person who steps into your role as an individual and helps you fulfill the day-to-day needs that relate to your person. Whereas, in Maryland, a “guardian of the property” (or conservator) is someone who is appointed to manage the financial affairs (or property) of a person who is incapable of doing so themselves. This can be due to underlying circumstances such as lack of financial knowledge, lack of experience in both handling finances and taxes, or mental incapacity. 

The person may be appointed by the court to serve, coordinate, and make responsible decisions on the property of an elderly, disabled person, or a minor child; be it financially, legally, or both. A guardian of the property acts as a fiduciary for people who cannot pay their bills, cannot file their taxes, cannot manage checkbooks, and a fiduciary makes sure that the accounting is done correctly. Usually, the court appoints an attorney from the court-approved list to serve in this role.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be an attorney to serve as a guardian of the property. If the person appointed as guardian of the property is not able to meet his/her obligation and doesn’t know how to manage all the finances of the person involved, then an experienced attorney in Maryland will be appointed by the court to take over and serve in that role. 

What Does it Take to be Appointed as a Guardian in Maryland? 

To be appointed as a guardian of the property, you need to be able to do anything the incapable person can normally do when it comes to his/her property. For example, collecting and depositing an income, paying bills, making monthly purchases for necessities, handling investments, recording all transactions, handling finances and taxes, and looking after legal matters.

Next, you will file a petition with the court and explain and present a detailed plan of why you have the capacity to serve in that role. After you file you are considered a participant in the process and must complete the requirements in accordance with the standard court rules.

The court will then review the submitted petition to determine whether the proposed guardian is trustworthy, compassionate about the incapable person’s welfare and is responsible enough to manage the person’s finances.

What are My Roles as Guardian of the Property?

A successfully appointed guardian of property should at least do the following responsibilities:

  • The guardian should keep a record of all transactions written down fully and accurately. This record will house all checks, appointment orders, and any important documents like bills, debts, associate funds, assets, and so forth.
  • Always act by the law not beyond the law. When the court orders a detailed plan or requirements, you should be able to carry out the basic necessary tasks to avoid violations and potential removal. Always follow the court order.
  • Remember that the disabled person should participate in the financial decisions that are made on his/her behalf. Supportive family members, friends, and caregivers should be consulted as well. But the final responsibility and accountability for the decision always rests with the successfully appointed guardian.