Life and Health Planning

General Life and Health Planning Articles

Maryland law requires certain benefits to be in health insurance policies. If an insurance company denies coverage for a treatment, consumers may appeal to the Maryland Insurance Administration.
Life care and estate planning is important for every Marylander.
Many people do not have either a living will or an advance directive. This article outlines some issues that go into making these important decisions.
This article contains information on different kinds of personal banks accounts, who can access them, and what happens when the owner dies.

Advance Directives

An advance directive (or living will) allows you to decide who you want to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
This article answers common questions about Advance Directives, Health Care Agents and Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment forms.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is a residential program that provides housing, supervision, personal care services, health related services, or a combination of these to residents who are unable to perform activities of daily living or who need help performing them.
This article answers frequently asked questions about medical assistance and nursing home care. Prepared by: Long Term Care Assistance Project, Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
Information for people caring for a frail elderly relative.
In Maryland, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer older adults a variety of services and care facilities, ranging from independent living arrangements to nursing home care. This article discusses the issues making a decision.
An ombudsman is a third party that acts to investigate and resolve complaints involving residents of long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman is an advocate whose goal is to promote the highest possible quality of life for residents.
Under the Medicaid Waiver, the federal government "waives" the requirement that services be provided in a nursing facility and pays for home and community based services for those who otherwise go to a nursing home.
This FAQ covers the rights of nursing home residents when the facility moves to discharge or transfer the resident.
This article describes the rights that nursing home residents have under state and federal law and regulations.
Issues to consider before you sign.
Residents of nursing homes have certain rights.
Your treatment, care and services must be adequate, appropriate, and promote your social, emotional, physical and spiritual health. For example, you have a right to a service plan based on an assessment of your needs; you also have a right to three meals and additional snacks each day.

Estate Planning

A will is a written legal document that states what you want done about various topics after you die.  A will can include your wishes about what happens to your belongings (called the "estate"), and about who will care for any minor children.
For many Marylanders, their home is the single largest and most important asset in their family. Protect it with proper estate planning.
A life estate is a type of property ownership where two or more people have ownership rights. The life tenant is the person with the right to possess and use the property for the duration of their life. This means that the life tenant has lifetime use of the property.
The titling of your property is an important concept to understand to determine who has access to your property and what will happen with that property when you die.
What are reverse mortgages and what are the common pitfalls.
This article defines and describes the basic law of trusts.
There are different ways that your loved ones can receive your personal belongings and property after you die.

Guardianship

Guardianship is a court proceeding. When an adult is unable to make personal decisions, such as medical decisions, or to handle his or her own property, a court can appoint a guardian.
In Maryland, a guardian should only be appointed if there are no less restrictive alternatives. During the court guardianship proceeding, the court must first determine there is no less restrictive alternative available, so consider alternatives prior to beginning guardianship proceedings. This article lists some, but not all, available alternatives.
Establishing a guardianship is a formal, public, legal process. It is initiated when someone files a petition with a Maryland circuit court to be appointed guardian for an “alleged disabled person.” It should be noted that a disabled person is always an “alleged” disabled person until that person is determined by a court to be disabled, based on competent medical evidence, affidavits or opinions. Prior to that determination, a person is presumed to have capacity. If the court determines that a person is disabled, the court will appoint someone, most often an interested person, to serve as guardian, and issue an order setting out the terms and conditions of the appointment.
Interested persons play a pivotal role in guardianship proceedings. For example, only an interested person can petition for guardianship.
If the alleged disabled person does not already have an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney for the disabled person. This is required to ensure that the alleged disabled person’s due process rights are not violated during the guardianship proceedings.
Whether or not the guardianship is contested, a hearing on the guardianship petition will be conducted in the circuit court for the county in which the petition was filed. The two main issues in a guardianship hearing are (1) whether a guardian is needed (i.e., is the alleged disabled person really disabled?) and (2) who is the most appropriate guardian for the disabled person. The Petitioner has the burden to prove both of these issues.
This article describes what a Family Safety Plan is and important terms to know.
This article describes documents that are part of the safety plan and things to consider with each.
Guardianship is a legal process where the court appoints a person to manage a minor’s personal affairs (non-financial decisions), financial affairs, or both. The court can appoint one person to manage the minor’s personal affairs and another person to manage the minor’s financial affairs. The court can also appoint two people as co-guardians to share the guardianship responsibilities. The court is the ultimate guardian and will monitor the guardianship.
Guardianship is a legal process where the court appoints a person to manage a minor’s personal affairs (non-financial decisions), financial affairs, or both. This article addresses some frequently asked questions.
A standby guardian is a person appointed by a parent (or parents) of a child to take care of the child in the event that the parent is mentally or physically incapable of doing so, or subject to an adverse immigration action.

Powers of Attorney

View Maryland's Statutory Form Limited Power of Attorney, from Md. Code, Estates and Trusts, Section 17-203
View Maryland's Statutory Form Personal Financial Power of Attorney from Md. Code, Estates and Trusts, Section 17-202
A power of attorney is a document that gives someone legal authority to act for another person.