In 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.

IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To comply with requirements imposed by the Department of the Treasury, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written by the practitioner to be used, and that it cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer, and (ii) supporting the promotion or marketing of any transactions or matters addressed herein.

Our use of a disclaimer does not change the high degree of care and attention that we devote to our tax advice. Moreover, the inclusion of the disclaimer does not indicate that penalties could be imposed on the transaction at issue, but rather merely indicates that the advice we have provided you in such communication does not preclude the IRS from asserting penalties. Finally, please be assured that the use of such a disclaimer to avoid unnecessary legal expenses is similar to the approach adopted by most other tax practitioners.