What would happen to your assets if you were to become disabled? This is the very serious question Offit Kurman attorney Joseph Mathis addresses in his article, “An Alternative To Guardianship Of The Property For A Disabled Individual.” If one becomes incapacitated (either mentally or physically), to the point that he or she is no longer able to make financial decisions, there are three primary avenues to explore.
- Power of Attorney: If the individual has a well-drafted power of attorney in place before becoming incapacitated, his or her agent will be able to immediately step in and make financial decisions, without any court involvement. If there is no power of attorney in place, things get a little more difficult.
- Guardianship: If an individual owns assets and becomes incapacitated without a financial power of attorney in place, it may be necessary to seek a court appointed guardian of the property. This guardian will be responsible for managing assets titled in the individual’s name.
- An Alternative to Guardianship: If the incapacitated individual owns few assets, titled in his or her name alone, there is an alternative to guardianship under Maryland law; “a circuit court may authorize or direct a transaction with respect to the property, service, or care arrangement of the disabled person without the appointment of a guardian.” This action could save considerable time and expense of obtaining a guardianship. Transactions which apply include, but are not limited to, the payment, delivery, deposit, or retention of funds or property; the sale, mortgage, lease, or other transfer of property; and the purchase of contracts for an annuity, life care, training, or education.
To determine which avenue is most appropriate for your unique situation, it is important to contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, like the ones at Offit Kurman.
If you have any questions about an Alternative to Guardianship under Maryland Law, please contact Joseph Mathis at 301.575.0351 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Mathis focuses his practice in counseling and assisting individuals with Elder Care Planning, Estate Planning, and Estate Administration. As part of his practice Mr. Mathis also handles guardianship proceedings for disabled adults and minors.
Offit Kurman Estate Planning Practice Group
Estate planning is one of the most fundamental and important legal services our lawyers provide. Through our unique estate planning process, our attorneys develop a customized plan tailored to meet your specific needs and objectives. We are dedicated to the design, documentation, and implementation of high-quality estate plans for individuals and families to help you transfer wealth from one generation to the next and beyond. The estate plans we design help you, to the maximum extent possible, minimize the burden of gift and estate taxes and protect your assets from the threat of preexisting and potential creditors.
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