§551A-2  Powers and duties.  (a)  The public guardian shall serve as guardian, limited guardian, testamentary guardian, emergency guardian, or temporary substitute guardian of an incapacitated person when so appointed by the family court or by the circuit court under chapter 560.  Notwithstanding section 560:5-304, the public guardian may not file a petition for the public guardian's own appointment.  Petitions for public guardianship may be filed by any person, agency, or facility responsible for the support or care of individuals who:

     (1)  Are not able to understand or adequately participate in decisions concerning their care; and

     (2)  Have no relatives or friends willing and able to act as a guardian.

     (b)  The public guardian shall have the same powers and duties as a private guardian.  In addition, if there is no conservatorship in effect for a ward, the court may authorize the public guardian to:

     (1)  Request and obtain copies of any and all of the ward's financial information, records, and documents, including but not limited to account statements, deposit and withdrawal records, and canceled or returned checks, from any and all savings accounts, checking accounts, safe deposit box accounts, retirement or pension accounts, investment accounts, insurance accounts, annuity accounts, credit card accounts, and all other accounts held in the name of the ward; and

     (2)  Transact business or take necessary action as to the accounts in paragraph (1);

provided that if a conservatorship comes into effect for the ward, the public guardian shall not have and shall not exercise the powers in paragraphs (1) and (2) that have been granted to the conservator, for the duration of the conservatorship.

     (c)  The public guardian shall assist the court, as the court may request or direct, in proceedings for the appointment of a guardian and in the supervision of persons, corporations, or agencies which have been appointed as guardians.

     (d)  The public guardian shall advise and assist persons, corporations, and agencies which are seeking appointment as a guardian for an incapacitated person.  The public guardian shall also provide advice, information, and guidance to the persons, corporations, or agencies who have been appointed as guardian to assist them in the discharge of their duties.

     (e)  The public guardian may offer guidance and counsel, without court appointment as guardian, to those persons who request such assistance or to those on whose behalf it is requested for the purpose of encouraging maximum self-reliance and independence of such persons and avoiding the need for appointment of a guardian.

     (f)  The public guardian shall develop programs of public education on guardianship and alternatives to guardianship and encourage the development of private guardians able and willing to serve as guardian. [L 1984, c 223, pt of §1; am L 1986, c 158, §1; am L 2004, c 161, §20; am L 2005, c 22, §36; am L 2015, c 141, §1]