Standby Guardianship - Maryland

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Who Can Nominate a Standby Guardian

Citation: Ann. Code, Est. & Trusts § 13-903

The parent may file a petition for appointment of a standby guardian. Each person having parental rights over the minor must join in the petition.

How to Establish a Standby Guardian

Citation: Ann. Code, Est. & Trusts §§ 13-903; 13-904

The petition for the judicial appointment of a standby guardian shall state the following:

  • The duties of the standby guardian
  • Whether the authority of the standby guardian is to become effective on the petitioner's incapacity or death, whichever occurs first
  • That there is a significant risk that the petitioner will become incapacitated or die within 2 years of the filing of the petition and the basis for this statement

If the court finds that there is a significant risk that the petitioner will become incapacitated or die within 2 years of the filing of the petition and that the interests of the minor will be promoted by the appointment of a standby guardian, the court shall issue a decree accordingly.

A parent may also designate a standby guardian by means of a written designation that is signed in the presence of two witnesses who are at least age 18, neither of whom is the standby guardian, and signed by the standby guardian. The written designation shall identify the parent, the minor, and the person designated to be the standby guardian; state the duties of the standby guardian; and indicate that the parent intends for the standby guardian to become the minor's guardian in the event the parent either:

  • Becomes incapacitated
  • Becomes debilitated and consents to the beginning of the standby guardian's authority
  • Is subject to an adverse immigration action and consents to the beginning of the standby guardian's authority

How Standby Authority is Activated

Citation: Ann. Code, Est. & Trusts §§ 13-903; 13-904

The standby guardian's authority becomes effective at:

  • The parent's death
  • The parent's incapacity
  • The written consent of the parent

If the petition to appoint has already been approved, the standby guardian has 90 days after the parent's death or incapacity to file confirming documents with the court.

The authority of the standby guardian under a written designation shall begin on either of the following:

  • The standby guardian's receipt of all of the following:
    • A copy of a determination of debilitation
    • A copy of the parent's written consent to the beginning of the standby guardianship, signed by the parent in the presence of two witnesses who are at least age 18, neither of whom is the standby guardian, and signed by the standby guardian
    • A copy of the birth certificate for each child for whom the standby guardian is designated
  • The standby guardian's receipt of both of the following:
    • Evidence of an adverse immigration action against the parent
    • A copy of the parent's written consent to the beginning of the standby guardianship that was signed by the parent in the presence of two witnesses who are at least age 18, neither of whom is the standby guardian, and signed by the standby guardian

The standby guardian shall file a petition for judicial appointment within 180 days of the date of the beginning of the standby guardianship.

Involvement of the Noncustodial Parent

Citation: Ann. Code, Est. & Trusts § 13-903

Any person with parental rights over the minor must join in the petition to appoint a standby guardian. If a person with parental rights cannot be located after reasonable efforts have been made, the court may proceed to appoint a standby guardian.

Authority Relationship of the Parent and the Standby

Citation: Ann. Code, Est. & Trusts § 13-907

The standby guardian's authority is limited and does not divest the parent of any parental or guardianship rights.

Withdrawing Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code, Est. & Trusts §§ 13-903; 13-904

Before the petition is filed, the parent may notify the standby guardian verbally or in writing. After the petition has been granted, the parent must file a written revocation with the court and notify the standby guardian.

The standby guardian may renounce an appointment at any time before assuming authority by filing a written renunciation with the court and notifying the parent in writing.