n Minnesota, a standby guardian is an individual appointed by the parents of a minor child to take care of the child’s physical well-being upon a triggering event (such as death, sudden incapacity, or other emergency situations) in which the child’s parents are unable to do so. The standby guardian is appointed by a document executed by the parents prior to the triggering event and is effective with minimal Court approval. In some circumstances, the standby guardianship can continue for up to two years before a traditional guardian must be appointed. A standby guardianship is preferable to a traditional guardianship because it can commence much more quickly, and is not subject to Court supervision, making it much less costly.
By executing a standby guardianship for their children, parents can choose which family member(s) or friend(s) will care for their children if they are unable to do so. This document can also prevent a child from being moved into temporary foster care while a Court determines permanent placement for the child or children. Further, the document can also be used to allow the standby guardian to access the child’s medical records and seek necessary medical treatment on behalf of the child. In this way, it provides for immediate care of the children pursuant to the wishes of the parents.
Davis Law Firm began utilizing this document within our Young Family Planning Package as a way to allow parents of young children to specifically and clearly designate caretakers for their children in the event that they are unable to do so. The document is particularly helpful in the event of an emergency or unexpected tragedy. A designation of a standby guardian can provide peace of mind and allow time for long term decisions to be made.
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