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  • Nicole J. Zuvich

Should I get a standby guardianship to protect my children?

Updated: Sep 27

Many parents in New York who are conscientious about estate planning and being prepared for the future will consider all options in protecting themselves and their family members. This is especially true if they are responsible for others. Those who have young children frequently have a person or persons in mind to care for their children if they are unable to by naming a guardian. That is generally considered to be part of a will and goes into effect after death. However, there are other circumstances in which a guardianship might be needed.

What is a standby guardianship?

If a parent becomes ill or incapacitated and cannot care for the child, a guardian can be named. This is a standby guardianship. When a legal guardian is named in a will, that person will be responsible for the child after he or she has been approved by a judge. For a standby guardianship, the person is named if the parent is unable to care for the child or make decisions on the child’s behalf. This can be a guardianship over person, property or both. The powers bestowed on the standby guardian are the same as those granted to a guardian. It will not begin until the parent says it should.

If, for example, a parent has a condition or illness that might lead to them being incapacitated, then they might want a standby guardianship to protect them and the child. It starts when the parent has either died or does not have the capacity to properly oversee the child. If no specific standby guardian is named, then the court can appoint one. A standby guardian can be anyone from a relative to a friend or a person appointed by the court.

Comprehensive estate planning

Parents want a say in who will care for their child, so it is imperative to remember this vital information and act accordingly. A guardianship can be useful in many situations. When moving forward with estate planning, it is wise to have a full grasp of all the options available and how they can help in the future. Consulting with experienced people who understand all areas of estate planning may be key to full preparedness.

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