As parents, we worry about the care and security for our children should something happen to us. An estate plan allows you to plan out the care for your children is something happens to one or both parents.
Your Last Will and Testament
You last will and testament is where you will appoint guardians for your minor children upon your death.
However, what if the tragedy does not cause your death but leaves you unable to care for your children?
Who is authorized to serve as guardian for your minor children?
How can you ensure that the right person is appointed?
A “standby guardian” can be appointed allowing parents to hold onto their parental rights. Appointing a standby guardian is like how a person is appointed in a last will and testament but goes into effect during your lifetime.
A parent may be diagnosed with a debilitating illness or a car accident may change a family’s life in an instant. Parents can ensure their children are well cared for by appointing a standby guardian.
How to Designate a Standby Guardian
To assign a standby guardian, a parent merely assigns the guardian in written form that is signed by two witnesses or signed by the standby guardian. Once a parent is incapacitated by an accident or otherwise, this triggers the agreement and the standby guardian’s authority begins.
A standby guardian can become a guardian by petitioning the court within 180 days after the triggering event. Parents may remove the standby guardian prior to the petition being filed.
We recommend that parents of minor children not only designate a guardian for their minor children in a will but also through a standby guardianship. While we can’t plan for every aspect of what might happen in our lifetime, planning for the care of our minor children is simple by including a standby guardian as part of our estate plan.
The Law Firm of Amanda Daniels includes a standby guardian as part of our estate planning package for our clients with minor children. If you have a question or would like a review of your will or estate plan, give us a call.