|Location:||Montgomery County Circuit Court
North Tower 2nd floor, Rm 2400
|Hours of Operation:||8:30 am - 4:30 pm|
The Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts Article §15-102 covers the powers of a fiduciary (the guardianship of the property), and §13-708 defines the rights, duties and powers of guardian (the guardianship of the person).
Roles & Responsibilities
The Montgomery County Circuit Court’s Trust Office administers the reporting requirements and maintains the case files for the following active court cases:
Please note: The Trust Office does not provide service about trusts in general.
- For questions about a specific trust, contact the trustee of that trust.
- For assistance in creating a new trust, contact an attorney who works in this area.
- For problem resolution within a trust sought through court proceedings, contact the Circuit Court's Civil Department.
- For information concerning the procedures required to be appointed a guardian, contact the Guardianship Case Manager with the Circuit Court's Family Division Services.
The Trust Office administers four types of active guardianship cases:
- Guardianships of the person of disabled persons
- Guardianships of the property of disabled persons
- Guardianships of the property of minors
- Guardianships of the person of minors (effective January 2016)
Upon completion of the required court procedures, the Court may issue an order appointing a guardian “of the person” and/or “of the property” for disabled persons or minors. A disabled person is a person other than a minor who has been judged by the Court to be unable to manage his/her property and/or unable to provide for his/her daily needs. A minor is a person who has not reached the age of 18.
A guardian "of the person” is responsible for providing proper care (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and making personal decisions for a disabled person or minor about important issues, such as education, finance, health care, etc. A guardian "of the person” of a disabled person or minor is required to file an annual report to the Court.
A guardian "of the property” is responsible for appropriately managing the money and other assets of a disabled person or minor and for keeping and safeguarding the financial records. A guardian "of the property” is required to file one initial report and annual reports to the court.
The specific functions handled by the Trust Office include:
- Notifying the guardians and other fiduciaries about the reports and other documents required to be filed in accordance with the Maryland Rules and Order(s) of Court issued in each case;
- Pursuing the court procedures involved for reports and other required documents that are past due to be filed;
- Keeping the case files updated for new filings;
- Examining the Annual Fiduciary Report (Fiduciary’s Account) that is required to be filed by guardians of the property and other fiduciaries; and
- Preparing a Report of Trust to the Court, which sets forth matters to be called to the attention of the Court and includes a recommendation that either (1) the Annual Fiduciary Report be accepted by the Court through an executed Order of Court or (2) that the matter of the acceptance be scheduled for a hearing that the guardian is required to attend.
Guardianship Reporting and Other Filing Requirements
Please note: Because of the reporting and other filing requirements, guardians are required to notify the Trust Office of a change of address and/or the phone number as soon as possible by phone or in writing.
The following reports are required to be filed pursuant to Maryland Rule 10-206 (person of disabled person) and Maryland Rules 10-706 through 10-708 (property):
The Maryland Rules concerning removal for cause are §10-208 (person) and §10-712 (property). Failure to file a required guardianship report will cause a Show Cause Order to be issued and a hearing before the Court to be scheduled. This Order will require the guardian to show cause at a court hearing why he/she should not be removed as guardian for failure to perform a guardianship duty and/or comply with an Order. If a delinquent report or other document is filed with the Trust Office within 5 working days of the hearing date and is determined to be sufficient, the guardian will be contacted concerning the status of the hearing. Failure to appear at a Show Cause Hearing may result in the immediate removal of the guardian and/or the issuance of a body attachment that authorizes the Sheriff’s department to locate and detain the guardian until the guardian can appear before a Judge. The matter may further be turned over to the State’s Attorney’s Office for investigation and criminal prosecution.
Report Filing Requirements for a Guardian of the Person of a Disabled Person or a Minor
A guardian of the person of a disabled person or a minor is only required to file an Annual Report with the Trust Office each year within 60 days after the end of the guardianship year. Generally, the guardianship year begins on the date of appointment, which is the date the Order of Court appointing the guardian is signed. The Annual Report includes information about living arrangements, physical and mental condition, and plans for future care of the disabled person or a minor.
- Approximately two months before the end of the guardianship year, the Trust Office will send a notification letter along with the Annual Report template to the guardian reminding him/her of the reporting requirement.
- Once the Trust Office receives the completed Annual Report, the Court reviews the report and either (1) enters an Order accepting the report and continuing the guardianship for another year or (2) takes other appropriate action.
A guardian of the property of a disabled person or a minor is required to complete and file two reports: an initial Inventory and Information Report within 60 days of the date of appointment and an Annual Report.
- The Trust Office will send the guardian a letter and a blank Inventory and Information Report form shortly after the Order of Court appointing the guardian has been signed.
- The Inventory and Information Report includes information about the disabled person’s or minor’s assets, such as real estate property, cash and cash equivalents, stocks, bonds, personal property, and so forth.
In some situations, guardians may be required to file additional documents when they submit their Inventory and Information Report. The Trust Office provides notification and any applicable blank forms to the guardian for the additional documents. They may include:
- An Appointment of Resident Agent Form is required if the guardian is not a resident of Maryland. See more details below under the “Resident Agent” section.
- The Court may order the guardian of the property to file a fiduciary bond to ensure the faithful performance of the guardian. If the Court orders a fiduciary bond, the original bond document signed by the guardian must be filed with the Trust Office. See more details below under the “Bond Requirement” section.
- An Acknowledgment of Deposit of Restricted Funds Form is required if a restricted bank account has been ordered by the Court that requires prior authorization by Order of Court for any withdrawals. See more details below under the “Restricted Accounts” section.
Specific Requirements for the Inventory and Information Report
- The assets and indebtedness to be reported in the Inventory and Information Report are those in existence and valued at the fair market value determined by the guardian as of the date of appointment. Valuations are required to be for exact amounts and stated in dollars and cents. Unless the Court directs otherwise, employing an appraiser to make any valuation is not required.
- For a guardianship of a minor in which the funds and/or other assets comprising the guardianship estate remain to be received, the Inventory and Information Report is required to be timely filed and completed by the guardian with a statement providing a description, source, estimated valuation, and estimated date of receipt for each asset. Upon receipt of the funds and/or other assets, the guardian is required to file an amended Inventory and Information Report and attach to it a copy of the proceeds check(s) or other original source document stating the description and valuation of funds or other assets received on behalf of the minor.
Specific Requirements for the Annual Fiduciary Report (Fiduciary's Account)
The second report that guardians of the property of a disabled person or a minor are also required to complete and file is the Annual Fiduciary Report (Fiduciary’s Account) within 60 days after the end of each guardianship year.
- Approximately two months before the end of the guardianship year, the Trust Office will send a notification letter along with the Annual Fiduciary Report to the guardian reminding him/her of the reporting requirement.
- The Annual Fiduciary Report includes information about the disabled person’s or minor’s assets (calculated as the value of the assets at the beginning and end of the guardianship year), the income received, disbursements made, and changes in the values of the non-cash assets that occurred during the guardianship year.
Upon receiving the completed Annual Fiduciary Report, the Trust Clerk examines the report and supporting documentation and prepares the Report of Trust Clerk. The Report of Trust Clerk identifies matters to be called to the attention of the Court and will recommend either that the Annual Fiduciary Report be accepted by the Court through an executed Order of Court, or that the matter of acceptance be set for a hearing that the guardian is required to attend.
The Annual Fiduciary Report is a comprehensive report consisting of the following sections:
- Assets as of the Beginning and End of the Reporting Period (Part I, pages 1 - 2). The assets and values reported at the beginning of the period should equal the assets and values last reported. For the first Annual Fiduciary Report, the assets and values last reported should equal those reported in the Inventory and Information Report as both represent assets and values as of the date of appointment. If the assets and/or values reported in the original Inventory and Information Report are inaccurate or incomplete, an Amended Inventory and Information Report is required to be filed along with the first Annual Fiduciary Report. For the second and later Annual Fiduciary Reports, the beginning assets and values reported should be the same as those reported for the ending of the period in the Annual Fiduciary Report filed for the preceding year, to include amended valuations made during the examination of the report by the Trust Clerk and for which the guardian received notice.
- Income (Part II-A, page 3) includes funds received reported by date, received from, type of income, and amount. Type of income includes earnings; pensions and other retirement benefits; social security benefits; rental income; annuities; dividends paid or reinvested; and interest earned on checking accounts, money market accounts, saving accounts, certificates of deposit, time deposits, loans receivable, etc.; refunds; etc. Income may be reported at the gross amount incurred rather than the net amount received with the related deductions for income taxes, expenses, etc. being reported in disbursements. The income receipts should be entered in date sequence as received by account. (See Changes in Assets, Part III below concerning the reporting of sales proceeds received on assets sold during the period.)
- Disbursements (Part II-B, page 4) include funds withdrawn or paid from cash or cash accounts, to include cash accounts contained in investment brokerage accounts, and are reported by date, payee, purpose, and amount. The disbursements should be entered in date sequence as paid by account. (See Changes in Assets, Part III below concerning the costs of assets purchased during the period.)
- Changes in Assets (Part III, page 5) pertains to assets generally other than cash accounts, such as real estate; stocks, bonds and other investments; equipment to include computers; vehicles; furniture and fixtures; jewelry; art; other personal property; cash value of life insurance; etc. Transactions to be reported in this section include sales and other dispositions of assets and the increase or decrease due to appreciation or decline in the market value of assets existing since the beginning of the period or since being acquired during the period. (Cash account transactions, other than transactions pertaining to the sales price and related selling costs of assets sold or the cost of assets purchased during the period, are reported in the Income and Disbursements sections of the report rather than in the Changes in the Assets section. The cash accounts include checking accounts, money market accounts, saving accounts, credit union accounts, certificates of deposit, time deposits, etc.)
- Summary reconciliation of fiduciary estate (Part IV, page 6) serves as the proof that the accounting presented in the report is in balance. The values entered on the summary should equal the totals from the sections of the report for beginning values on page 2, income on page 3, disbursements on page 4 and changes in value on page 5. The summary total should equal the total ending values reported on page 2 before the report is ready to be filed. If the accounting contained in the report does not balance, methods to find errors include rechecking entries and addition, comparing transactions stated in the report to those shown on the bank or other statements in order to identify transactions omitted and other discrepancies, and reviewing the transactions reported for each asset account separately from the beginning to the ending of the period to make sure each account balances.
- Guardian's commissions worksheet (page 7) is provided for the computation of the guardian's commissions being claimed.
- Supporting documents are required to be submitted with the Annual Fiduciary Report to substantiate the assets values and transactions being reported and include all bank, other financial institutions and investment company account statements applicable to the entire reporting period; cancelled checks; settlement statements on the sale or purchase of real property; deeds, motor vehicle titles, etc. for assets purchased during the period; etc. Receipts or other underlying original source documents are required to be submitted for disbursements that include payments made by check for which the cancelled check is not available or the payee information is not printed on the account statement, checks made payable to cash or to the guardian, payments for credit card charges, and withdrawals of cash, etc. If the guardian is under bond, substantiating documentation that the bond remains in effect is also required to be submitted. Original documents may be submitted, which will be returned at the conclusion of the examination of the Annual Fiduciary Report, or copies may be submitted, which are only returned if their return is requested at the time the copies are submitted. Copies being submitted for cancelled checks should be of the checks after they have been cashed by the financial institution, and generally a copy of only the face side of the cancelled check is sufficient. Also to be provided pertaining to each cash account for which it may be applicable is a reconciliation to identify deposits in transit, outstanding checks, etc. so that the account balance shown on the statement provided for the end of the period will match the valuation at the end of the period reported in the Annual Fiduciary Report.
- If the report format presented in Maryland Rule 10-708 entitled Fiduciary’s Account is to be used instead of the Annual Fiduciary Report form provided by the Trust Office, two additional schedules are required to be submitted as part of the report filing. The two schedules are 1) if applicable, a schedule of the rise or decline in the fair market values of assets such as investments (but not CD’s, time deposits, etc.), real property, personal property, etc. incurred during the reporting period and 2) a summary reconciliation of the accounting transactions being reported to serve as a proof that the report is in balance.
Supporting documents for the Annual Fiduciary Report (Fiduciary’s Account)
Supporting documents (originals or copies are acceptable) are required to substantiate the assets’ values and transactions that are reported in the Annual Fiduciary Report. These documents include all bank statements and account statements for the entire reporting period from other financial and/or investment institutions, copies of cleared checks, settlement statements on the sale or purchase of real property, deeds, motor vehicle titles, or any receipts for assets purchased during the period. Receipts or other underlying source documents are required to be submitted for disbursements that include payments made by check for which the copies of cleared check is not available or the payee information is not printed on the account statement, checks made payable to cash or to the guardian, payments for credit card charges, withdrawals of cash, etc.
Annual Fiduciary Report Filing Fee
A filing fee is due at the time the Annual Fiduciary Report is filed with the Court. Payment may be made from the fiduciary estate by check payable to the “Clerk of the Court”. The filing fee is based on the total value of the assets at the end of the reporting period.
Annual Fiduciary Report Filing Fee
|Total assets at the end of the reporting period||Filing fee|
|$10,000 - $25,000||$30|
Forms Used for Guardianship Reporting
Guardian of the Person of a Disabled Person or a Minor :
Guardian of the Property of a Disabled Person or a Minor
- Annual Fiduciary Report (annual)
- Inventory and Information Report (initial report)
- Appointment of Resident Agent (initial report)
- Acknowledgment of Deposit of Restricted Funds (may be required)
- Petition for Appointment of Co-Guardian
- Petition to Pay Counsel Fees
- Petition for Approval of Attorney’s Fees Paid
- Petition to Waive Bond
- Petition to Resign and Appoint Substitute Guardian
- Petition to Extend Time to File Annual Fiduciary Report
- Petition to Extend Time to File Inventory
- Petition to Transfer Case to Another State
- Petition to Transfer Guardianship to Another Country
Additional Guardianship Requirements & ConsiderationsAppointing More than One Guardian of Both the Person and the Property
More than one person or a different person(s) can be appointed as guardian of the person and/or guardian of the property. For a guardianship with more than one guardian, however, any report required by law generally needs to be signed by all co-guardians.Requirement for Guardians Who Live Outside of Maryland
A guardian who is a nonresident of Maryland is required to designate a resident agent before commencing guardianship duties. The resident agent is a person who resides in Maryland on whom service of process may be made in the same manner and with the effect as if it were served personally in Maryland on the nonresident guardian. If a resident agent has not been designated by a nonresident guardian prior to appointment, the guardian and resident agent are required to complete and file an Appointment of Resident Agent Form with the Trust Office. The Trust Office will mail notice of this requirement and a blank form to the guardian.Titling Assets under Guardianship
Guardianship assets that include bank accounts, savings and loan association or other financial institution accounts, and tangible personal assets and intangible assets other than securities are to be titled in the name of the guardian as guardian for the disabled person or minor: (Guardian’s name), Guardian for (name of the disabled person or minor)
Securities held by the guardian are to be titled in the name of the guardian or in the name of a nominee or in other form without disclosure of the interest of the fiduciary estate (Maryland Rule 10-704(a)(2)). Securities in the name of the disabled person and that the guardian has physical possession of may be retained in the name of the disabled person.
Real estate does not need to be titled in the name of the guardian if the real property is located in Montgomery County or a copy of the Order appointing the guardian has been filed in Land Records in the jurisdiction where the property is located. (Maryland Rule 10-704)
A bond may be obtained from an insurance company or agency. The guardian is required to file the bond originally signed by the guardian with the Trust Office before commencing the performance of guardianship duties. A new bond may be assessed or an existing bond amount may be increased or decreased at any such time as the Court may deem appropriate and issue an Order accordingly. The bond premium may be paid from the income of the guardianship estate. The guardian is required to submit substantiating documentation that the bond remains in effect each year with the filing of the Annual Fiduciary Report.
The Court may order that guardianship funds be placed into a restricted account, which means that any withdrawals by the guardian will require Court approval by order. An Acknowledgment of Deposit of Restricted Account Form is required to be completed and returned to the Trust Office by the bank or other financial institution at which the funds are deposited within 60 days of the date of the appointment of the guardian. The Trust Office will mail a reminder notice of this requirement with a blank form to the guardian.
The restricted account should be registered as follows:
(Name of a guardian), Guardian for (Name of a disabled person or a minor), a Disabled Person/Minor, Subject to Withdrawal Only by Order of Montgomery County Circuit Court, Maryland
To request Court approval for a withdrawal of funds, the guardian is required to file a Petition with an accompanying proposed order and substantiating documentation. In the Petition, the guardian should explain the amount, purpose, and justification for the use of the funds and indicate that the substantiating documentation is attached.
Modifying or Terminating a GuardianshipThe Maryland Rules pertaining to termination are Maryland Rules 10-209 (guardianship of the person) and 10-710 (guardianship of the property). A guardianship can be modified or terminated by Order of Court. In order to obtain an Order of Court, a Petition to the Court is required to be filed.
Termination Due to Death of Disabled Person
The death of the disabled person is cause for termination of the guardianship. The guardian is required to notify the Trust Office of the date of death as soon as possible. The documents required to be filed by the guardian of the property to terminate the guardianship pursuant to Maryland Rule 10-710 are:
- A final accounting covering the period from the close of the last accounting filed through the date of death that includes the proposed final distribution of any remaining assets in the fiduciary estate;
- A Petition to Terminate Guardianship with an accompanying proposed order; and
- A copy of the Certificate of Death.
These documents are due to be filed with the Trust Office within 45 days after the date the guardian discovers that the disabled person has died. Upon receiving notification of the death, the Trust Office will send to the guardian a cover letter with an Annual Fiduciary Report form and a sample petition and proposed order. If the guardian is under bond, a copy of the signed Order terminating the guardianship once received by the guardian should be included with the request made by the guardian to the bonding company to discontinue the bond. Probate proceedings for the estate of the deceased disabled person may be commenced in the applicable jurisdiction on the date of death.
For additional information concerning probate proceedings for the estate of the deceased disabled person in Montgomery County, contact the Register of Wills at 240-777-9600 (50 Maryland Ave, North Tower 3rd floor, Rm 3220, Rockville Maryland 20850).
Termination Due to Minor Reaching Age 18A minor reaching his/her age of majority, which is 18 years of age, is cause for termination of the guardianship of the minor. The documents required to be filed by the guardian of the person and/or property of a minor to terminate the guardianship are:
- A final accounting covering the period from the close of the last accounting filed through the date of majority; and
- A Petition to Terminate Guardianship with an accompanying proposed order; and
- A copy of the Certificate of Birth; and
- A completed Receipt and Release Form.
The Receipt and Release Form serves to document the final distribution of the remaining assets in the fiduciary estate to the now former minor unto his/her own right. The amount to be entered in the blank space provided on the Receipt and Release form should generally equal the total assets at the end of the period reported in the final accounting. The now former minor is required to sign the form before a notary public, thereby acknowledging receipt of the assets previously held in trust by the guardian.
The documents are due to be filed with the Trust Office within 45 days after the date of majority. On the first day of the month in which the minor turns 18, the Trust Office will send to the guardian a cover letter with a blank Annual Fiduciary Report, a sample of the petition and proposed order and a blank Receipt and Release Form. If the guardian is under bond, a copy of the signed Order terminating the guardianship once received by the guardian should be included with the request made by the guardian to the bonding company to discontinue the bond.
Termination Due to Relocation from Montgomery County
If a guardian and disabled person or minor relocate to another county in Maryland and no guardianship property remains located in Montgomery County, Maryland, a petition with an accompanying proposed order requesting that the guardianship case be transferred to the new county may be filed.
If the guardian and disabled person or minor relocate outside of Maryland and no guardianship property remains located in Montgomery County, Maryland, then a Petition to transfer the guardianship to another state provisionally should be filed with the Montgomery County Circuit Court, and a Petition to terminate the guardianship needs to be filed after the guardianship is accepted by the Court to which the proceeding will be transferred according to the Annotated Code of Maryland Estates and Trusts Article §13.5-301. The documents required to be filed for termination include a final accounting with supporting documents and a Petition to terminate guardianship with verifying documentation of the acceptance of the guardianship in the new jurisdiction attached to it as an exhibit and with an accompanying proposed order.
Filing Specific Actions for the Guardianship Case
Generally, a Petition with the Court requesting authorization from or a ruling by the Court is required to be filed for requests for a specific action.
Matters requiring authorization from the Court for which the guardian or property is required to file a Petition include:
- Disbursement of guardianship funds requiring prior authorization from the Court;
- Transactions previously ordered by the Court in the specific guardianship case to require prior Court authorization such as the sale of real property;
- An additional extension of time to file a guardianship report;
- An extension of time to file a bond;
- An extension of time to file an Acknowledgment of Deposit of Restricted Funds Form [link];
- An extension of time to file a Appointment of Resident Agent Form [link];
- An extension of time to file an amended guardianship report and/or additional information and documentation pertaining to a report as requested by the Trust Clerk;
- The termination of the guardianship;
- Any action that may require Court consent due to issues of uncertainty or conflict that may exist with a related or interested person(s); and/or certain matters requiring authorization from the Court for which a petition is required to be filed by the guardian of the person of a disabled person, including any change in the classification of abode; for example, from a private home to assisted living or to a nursing home (for additional information and exceptions, see the Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts Article §13-708)
The first section of the Petition should include:
- Identity of the petitioner and pertinent background or historical data related to the specified action;
- Description of the specified action;
- Justification for the specified action; and
- Summary of the action requested and an affirmation statement and signature of the petitioner.
The format of the Petition generally is double-spaced, numbered paragraphs. Supporting documents are attached as exhibits.
The second section of the Petition is a Certificate of Service also signed by the petitioner in which the petitioner certifies that he/she has provided by mail or delivery a copy of the Petition on the day stated to the interested person(s) listed.
An accompanying proposed order is required to be filed with the Petition.
The Court allows 18 days if the copy of the Petition is sent to the interested person(s) by mail, or 15 days if delivered in person, for the interested person(s) to file an opposition or otherwise respond to the Petition before the Court rules on the Petition. A Judge will rule on the Petition and either approve or deny it on the proposed order as submitted or as modified by the Judge or require that a hearing be held concerning the Petition. The executed Order or, if applicable, notice of hearing will be mailed to the petitioner.
Reimbursement of Guardianship Expenses
A guardian of the property pursuant to Annotated Code of Maryland, Estates and Trusts Article §13-218 and 14-103 is entitled to the same compensation and reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses as the trustee of a trust. The commissions are payable to the guardian of the property from the guardianship estate after the Annual Fiduciary Report, which includes a worksheet for the calculation of the commissions earned has been examined by the Trust Clerk and an Order has been signed approving the Annual Fiduciary Report and, if applicable, stating the revised amount of the guardian’s commissions earned.
The guardian may require the assistance of a tax adviser concerning the income tax implications including reporting requirements such as Form 1099 Misc., which may be applicable concerning the guardian's commissions earned and paid.
Requesting an Extension of Time to File a Guardianship Report
An extension of time to file the Inventory and Information Report, Annual Fiduciary Report or Annual Report for 30 days past the original due date may be granted by the Trust Office upon receipt from the guardian of a written request stating reasonable cause. An additional extension of time over 30 days will require the filing of a petition with an accompanying proposed order to be ruled on by the Court.
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM