Right to counsel

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Legislation, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

In a protective proceeding involving guardianship of the property, the court must appoint an attorney to represent the alleged disabled person, unless he or she already has counsel. Md. Code Est. & Trusts § 13-211(b); MD. R. 10-106.


In a case regarding guardianship of the person, the court must appoint an attorney to represent the alleged disabled person. Md. Code Est. & Trusts § 13-705(d); MD. R. 10-106. In a guardianship case about providing emergency protective services, the alleged disabled person has the right to counsel "whether or not he is present at the hearing."  Md. Code Est. & Trust § 13-709(f)(1)(ii). The statute adds that in emergency guardianship cases, the court shall appoint counsel for an indigent alleged disabled person (whose attorney's fees the State shall pay), and for a person without capacity to waive counsel. The person who is the subject of an adult guardianship matter also has the right to appointed counsel at the required six-month review hearing held during the pendency of the guardianship, and court-appointed counsel will be provided if he or she is not represented. Md. Code Fam. Law § 14-404(c)(2).


The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has construed the guardianship statutes to find that the attorney should act as a client-directed attorney, and not as a guardian ad litem. In re Lee, 132 Md. App. 696, 718-20, 754 A.2d 426, 438-40 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2000).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no