Question 1: What is a Standby Guardian? In New York, parents can appoint guardians who will care for their children in the event the parents die. They can also appoint stand-by guardians who will take over in the event the parent becomes ill and is no longer able to care for the child.
Question 2: How are stand-by guardians appointed? There are two ways a parent can appoint a stand-by guardian in New York. First, the parent or person who wants to be a stand-by guardian can appear before a court and request a court order naming the stand-by guardian. This is done by filing a petition with the Surrogate’s Court. Second, the parent can name a stand-by guardian by creating a written designation. The parent must sign and date the document in front of two witnesses and the stand-by guardian must take the designation before the court within 60 days of receiving notification of the parent’s death or incapacity. The court will then determine whether to approve the designation or not.
Question 3: What if I become ill suddenly and can’t go to court or write a document? In this situation, the court can appoint a temporary guardian. This guardian will have parenting rights until you recover from the emergency situation. If you are able to speak yet cannot go to court, you may also be able to appoint a stand-by guardian by speaking to the judge over the phone. The court may also allow your attorney to appear in court on your behalf and ask for a stand-by guardianship.