Do I Need to Setup a Temporary Guardianship Form for My Children?

Temporary Guardianship is a concept in family protection & estate planning that you should become aware of.  

This is the idea that whether you are away on vacation, or even if you pass away, you want to designate someone you trust with having guardianship over your children.  

Obviously, vacation is a lot less permanent than death; however, regardless of how your children might come to need temporary guardianship, you need to be aware of what it is and how to use it in a complete family protection plan. 

Temporary Guardianship: What is it?

Temporary guardianship is when you appoint a guardian to take care of your children and make decisions for them temporarily.  The person you choose should be someone you trust because they will be making financial, medical, educational, and day to day decisions for your children. You can read here for more information on how to choose a guardian for your children.

There are three main reasons you may set up a temporary guardian.

  1. In case you become incapacitated.
  2. You are out of the state or the country for leisure or business.
  3. There is an emergency that causes you be unable to care for your children.

The length of the temporary guardianship is dependent on the purpose and reason for it.  If a court has to name a temporary guardian, then it will be for up to 60 days unless circumstances change or a permanent guardian is appointed.  If you name a temporary guardian in your living will, then the guardianship will last for the amount of time you choose and put on your document.  If you are incapacitated, or there is an emergency, then the temporary guardianship will last until you can care for your children again.

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When You Need a Temporary Guardianship Form

Most states require you to fill out a temporary guardianship form and have it notarized.  Depending on the state you may only need to keep the notarized copy on hand, or you may have to file it with the city, county, or state.

The temporary guardianship begins on the day you sign it and expires six months after unless you state an earlier date on the form.   If you need the guardianship to last longer than six months, you will need to fill out another form after the initial six months are over.

If your child is over fourteen years old, then they will also need to sign the form.

A temporary guardianship form is not needed if you name a temporary guardian in your living will.  The living will is a legal form and can take the place of a temporary guardianship form.

If you need a temporary guardian while you are away, you can write a temporary guardian letter.  Reasons you may be gone are business trips, military deployment, or medical procedure.  It is important that your letter includes the following:

  • Reason for the letter
  • Addressed to the guardian
  • Children’s full names
  • Exact dates for the guardianship
  • Details about what the guardian can and cannot do
  • Specific permission for medical treatments, school trips, and any other activities
  • Where and how the parents can be contacted
  • Doctor and dentist contact information

It is recommended to give any of your childrens’ schools or healthcare providers a copy of the letter.  If you do not do this, then the person you are granting temporary guardianship to needs to make sure they take their copy with them.

If you have any questions about setting up a temporary guardianship form or letter, you can contact our office.

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