Legal guardians are an important option available to parents who wish to plan for the care of minor children in their absence due to a variety of situations, such as illness, incarceration, or death. Choosing a legal guardian allows parents to name a caregiver who can step in to provide decision-making concerning the protection, education, and care of their children.

Types of Legal Guardians

Generally speaking, there are five types of legal guardianships:
(1) a temporary guardian may be appointed if the parent of a minor is unable to care for their child for a time due to illness or absence for some other reason. (2) co-guardian is given if a parent or court-appointed guardian who is the sole caregiver of the minor petitions for the appointment of another person to serve with them. (3) a plenary guardian is appointed to care for those who are intellectually disabled. (4) a testamentary guardian is designated through a will or similar instrument where a court appoints a person to serve as guardian following the death of a minor’s parents. (5) a standby guardian takes effect on the occurrence of a specified contingency like a parent’s illness, death, or absence. Unlike other forms of guardianship, the Probate Court is not involved in the designation of a standby guardian.

Appointing a Legal Guardian

If a minor’s parents drafted will name a legal guardian, the Probate Court may appoint the guardian pursuant to the will after notice and hearing to the parties who have a right to be heard including the minor child him or herself. If a minor is in need of a different legal guardian during a parent’s lifetime, a person interested in the child’s life may file a petition to have the court remove the child’s current guardian, natural or otherwise, and appoint a different one.
If you have concerns or questions about guardianships, we can help. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Charles L. Kurmay takes the time to learn about our clients’ individual needs and provide personalized service. We want to ensure that you have total peace of mind regarding who would take care of your minor children.

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For experienced, dedicated legal guidance in probate law, contact us at (203) 380-1743. We offer free initial consultations for prospective clients. Evening and weekend appointments are available for your convenience.