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Maryland Designation of Standby Guardian Law

Guardianship – General – Maryland

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STATUTORY REFERENCE
ALL REFERENCES ARE TO THE MARYLAND CODE

DESIGNATION OF STANDBY GUARDIAN
(Title 13, §§ 13-901 through 13-908)

Unless prohibited by agreement or court order, the surviving parent of a minor may appoint by will one or more guardians and successor guardians of the person of an unmarried minor. The guardian need not be approved by or qualify in any court.

A “standby guardian” is a person appointed by a court as standby guardian of the person or property of a minor (whose authority becomes effective on the incapacity or death of the minor’s parent or on the consent of the parent) or  designated under § 13-904 as standby guardian of the person or property of a minor (whose authority becomes effective on the incapacity of the minor’s parent or on the debilitation and consent of the parent.

A parent may revoke a standby guardianship before the filing of a petition, by notifying the standby guardian verbally or in writing or by any other act that is evidence of a specific intent to revoke the standby guardianship.

A parent may designate a standby guardian by means of a written designation:

  • Signed in the presence of two witnesses, at least 18 years old, neither of whom is the standby guardian; and
  • Signed by the standby guardian.
  • If a parent is physically unable to sign a written designation, another person may sign the designation on the parent’s behalf and at the parent’s direction.

    A designation of a standby guardian must 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; or
  • Becomes debilitated and consents to the beginning of the standby guardian’s authority.
  • A parent may designate an alternate standby guardian in the same writing and by the same manner as the designation of a standby guardian.

    Use of the statutory form is not required.

    If a parent is physically unable to sign a written consent to the beginning of the standby guardianship, another person may sign the written consent to the beginning of the standby guardianship on the parent’s behalf and at the parent’s direction.  This consent under must be signed in the presence of the parent and two witnesses at least 18 years of age, neither of whom may be the standby guardian.

    A standby guardian shall file a petition for judicial appointment within 180 days of the date of the beginning of the standby guardianship. If the standby guardian fails to file the petition within the time specified, the standby guardian’s authority shall terminate 180 days from the date of the beginning of the standby guardianship.

    A parent may revoke a standby guardianship by notifying the standby guardian verbally or in writing or by any other act that is evidence of a specific intent to revoke the standby guardianship.

    The beginning of a standby guardian’s authority in accordance with a determination of incapacity, determination of debilitation, or consent may not, itself, divest a parent of any parental or guardianship rights.

    The authority of a standby guardian with respect to the minor is limited to the express authority granted to the standby guardian by a court.

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