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Fields and Dennis LLP
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Standby Guardianship of Minor Children

The question is often asked, why do I need a standby guardianship for my minor children?  The children have two healthy parents and four healthy grandparents.  If anything happens to me, my spouse will take care of the children and if anything happens to both my wife and me, their grandparents will step in and care for the children.  Also, we have named a guardian for the children in our wills.

But what if you and your wife are injured in an accident and hospitalized or if one of you is away and the other is hospitalized?  Who will have the legal authority to take care of the children, enroll them in school or make medical decisions?  This is the reason for a standby guardianship.  The document will tell the court that you have thought about who should be responsible for caring for your children if you are incapacitated and unable to care for the children for a period of time.  The guardian will need to file the document with the court but this will keep your children from potentially having to spend even one night in foster care because no one has authority to care for them.  The document is limited to the time you are incapacitated and does not mean that you are giving up any of your parental rights.  You also have the ability to revoke it at any time.

Every parent, for their own peace of mind, should have a standby guardianship in place ready to be used if the situation occurs where neither parent is available to care for the minor children.