Power of Attorney
By a properly executed power of attorney, a parent or guardian of a minor may delegate to another person, for a period not exceeding six months, any of the parent’s or guardian’s powers regarding care, custody, or property of the minor, except the power to consent to marriage or adoption of a minor ward or to release of a minor ward for adoption. If a guardian delegates any powers, the guardian must notify the court within seven days after execution of the power of attorney and provide the court with the name, address and telephone number of the attorney-in-fact (person to whom temporary powers have been given by a power of attorney).
The power of attorney can be renewed at six month intervals if necessary.
A power of attorney is often the best solution for a short term situation, such as when parents are vacationing out of the country or the custodial parent is in the military.
Full Guardianship of a Minor
A full guardianship for the minor can be appointed if any of the following circumstances exist:
1) The parental rights of both parents or the surviving parent are terminated or suspended by prior court order, by judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, by death, by judicial determination of mental incompetency, by disappearance, or by confinement in a place of detention.
2) The parents or parents permit the minor to reside with another person and do not provide the other person with legal authority for the minor’s care and maintenance.
3) All of the following:
a) The minor’s biological parents have never been married to one another.
b) The minor’s custodial parent dies or is missing and the other parent has not been granted legal custody under court order.
c) The nominated guardian is related to the minor within the fifth degree by marriage, blood or adoption.
This process begins when a person interested in the welfare of a minor, or a minor if 14 years of age or older, files a petition for appointment of a guardian with the required $150 filing fee. A formal hearing is held. Notice must be given to the parent(s) prior to the hearing.
A guardian’s powers concern the care of the ward regarding medical treatment, education, social activities, housing, etc.
Limited Guardianship of a Minor
Both parents, or a custodial parent, can petition the Probate Court for appointment of a limited guardian for their child. The parent(s) and guardian(s) enter into a written agreement regarding the termination date of the guardianship, as well as such things as what contact the parent(s) will have with the child and support for the child.
This type of guardianship is often used if a child will be living with a relative or friend temporarily because a parent is serving in the military, will be incarcerated, is moving out of the area and child wishes to complete the school year in this county, etc. Or sometimes when a guardian can better provide for the necessities for a child or because a parent is unable to care for the child because of illness, etc.
A petition signed by the custodial parents(s) and limited guardianship placement plan signed by the parent(s) and guardian(s) must be filed with the Probate Court with the required $150 filing fee. A formal hearing is held. When a custodial parents is petitioning, notice must be given to the non-custodial parent prior to the hearing.
If a minor has assets that must be managed, it may also be necessary for a conservator to be appointed. That process begins with a petition for appointment of a conservator filed with a $150 filing fee.
An advantage of a guardianship over a power of attorney is that a guardian is often able to add the minor ward to their health insurance coverage. Schools and medical treatment facilities sometimes more readily accept the legality of Letters of Guardianship issued by the court.
If a minor has assets that must be managed, it may also be necessary for a conservator to be appointed. That process begins with a petition for appointment of a conservator filed with a $150 filing fee. A formal hearing must be held, with notice to the parents.