ANNAPOLIS, MD– Changes to court rules that help safeguard the personal and financial well-being of vulnerable Marylanders will go into effect January 1, 2018. The changes will apply to court-appointed guardians, guardianships, and attorneys. Guardians are appointed by the court to make personal or financial decisions on behalf of someone who is unable to manage those matters because of age, disease, or disability.

“The Judiciary is committed to protecting the rights of older Marylanders and vulnerable children and adults whose matters bring them before our courts,” said Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. “The changes to the rules will help prevent neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation. We are grateful to the Guardianship Work Group, which includes representatives from within the Maryland Judiciary as well as justice partners in the community. The group advocated for these rule changes and worked diligently to implement recommendations to improve court processes and ensure that best practices are employed in the management of guardianships of minors and vulnerable adults.”

The changes include:

  • New certification requirements to be completed by physicians, psychologists, and licensed certified clinical social workers (amendments toMd. Rule 10-202).
  • New training and eligibility requirements for attorneys appointed to represent individuals who are the subjects of proceedings to establish guardianships (amendments toMd. Rule 10-106and theMaryland Guidelines for Court-Appointed Attorneys in Guardianship Proceedings, which are attached as a new appendix toTitle 10).
  • New orientation and training requirements for guardians of the person and property (amendments toMd. Rule 10-108; newMd. Rules10-205.1and10-304.1; and theGuidelines for Court-Appointed Guardians of the PersonandGuidelines for Court-Appointed Guardians of the Property,which are attached as new appendices toTitle 10).
  • New factors for courts to consider when determining whether good cause exists to appoint as a guardian an individual who has been convicted of an offense listed inEstates & Trusts Article § 11-114(newMd. Rule 10-113).
  • New factors for courts to consider when determining whether to require a guardian of the property to post a bond (amendments toMd. Rule 10-702).

The Judiciary website has a newMaryland Guardianshipsection with guardianship information, including an orientation video for prospective guardians, links to training programs, and new forms. The direct link to the Maryland Guardianship section ishttp://www.mdcourts.gov/family/guardianship/courtappointedguardians.html.

The fullGuardianship Work Group Reportis available on the Judiciary’s website. The direct link ishttp://mdcourts.gov/judicialcouncil/pdfs/workgroups/guardianshipreportrecommendations201605.pdf.