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What is a standby guardian and do I need one?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | Guardianships

Many people in Indiana who are thinking about estate planning are concerned about their children and other loved ones who rely on them. This is a primary reason why a comprehensive estate plan is necessary. It can also be an issue if a person is caring for an incapacitated adult.

The prospect of leaving a loved one behind and having no control over who cares for them strikes fear in many Indiana residents. This is where a standby guardian could be a viable option. It is important to understand the law for naming a standby guardian and to select a trustworthy person to serve in the role. It is also possible to name an alternate standby guardian.

Key aspects of a standby guardianship

If a person cannot care for their child due to their own incapacity or death, the person designated as the standby guardian will assume legal custody of the child or incapacitated adult. Once the standby guardianship goes into effect, it will last for 90 days.

Even though the parent selected the standby guardian, the person must still be suitable for the role. They need to be willing to provide the necessary care. Suitability comes in many forms, but it is primarily giving the ward a safe environment with all the basic requirements—clothing, schooling, a home, medical care—they have.

The standby guardian is not permanent. Once 90 days have passed from the time the parent has died or became incapacitated, it terminates. A petition for guardianship can be filed during those 90 days and it will stay in effect until a ruling is made. Standby guardians have all of the powers granted to a guardian.

Those with children or who care for a special needs adult should know their options

It can be difficult thinking about the worst-case scenario, but when there are significant responsibilities, it is essential to be fully prepared. A standby guardianship is not commonly discussed and it is a relatively new, having gone into effect in the state slightly more than a decade ago.

Still, it can be a useful document to have to make sure the loved one is cared for after a parent dies or is incapacitated. For assistance with this or to explore other options, contacting those who understand guardianships and estate planning can give guidance and advice.