Tonight’s post about Guardianship for Minors was written by our Wills, Trusts and Estates Guru, Steve Worall.
Georgia guardianship lawyers put a lot of effort into helping clients prepare for all kinds of possibilities. From the “perfect” retirement plan to setting up trusts and family foundations, they work to provide strategies for pretty much every stage of life. While estate planning lawyers recommend naming long-term guardians for minor children in case of the death of the parents, there are times when it is also a good idea to have legal documentation of the parent’s wishes for short-term guardianships, too.
The More Obvious Reasons
Should the parents travel, for instance, it is wise to provide legal permission for friends or family members to be able to gain medical treatment or make other important decisions on the child’s behalf. If a parent is on a business trip, does the child’s caregiver have the ability to sign school permission slips or to travel out of state with the kid? A Georgia guardianship lawyer will be able to create the proper powers of attorney in order to bestow these kinds of rights on the adult in charge.
Obviously, if a child needs medical attention while a parent is absent, the parent will likely want to be consulted. That said, emergency situations arise due to accidents or unexpected illness, and it doesn’t make sense to put off medical care while trying to track the parent down by phone. Having the right documents in place beforehand means that the parent has already given consent for the child to be taken to the doctor, hospital, or emergency clinic without delay.
The Less Obvious Reasons
There are also times when a parent is temporarily and suddenly unable to care for a child. A car accident or other emergency could require the need for a guardian on very short notice. Unfortunately, if the parent and his or her estate planning lawyer haven’t planned for this contingency, things can go from bad to worse pretty quickly. In addition to not having the parent available, the legal system can determine that the children should go into protective services for the duration of the emergency, or until the long-term guardian can take custody of them.
A better solution-especially for those whose long-term guardians live some distance away-is to have the attorney bestow temporary guardianship to a trusted individual who lives locally. Rather than calling protective services to take responsibility for the child, the authorities would call the temporary guardian to fulfill the role. This situation is one that many people don’t even realize they should plan for.
Temporary guardianships don’t have to delegate full parental-type rights to the guardian, rather the parent should work with a good Georgia estate planning lawyer to determine what they deem appropriate. Whether for a planned trip or an unforeseen emergency, having this protection in place allows parents to choose who will care for their children and how in a manner that complies with state and local laws.
Steve protects all of our clients in all of our offices including Marietta, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Canton, Gainesville and Savannah.