Temporary Guardianship of a Minor Child:
In Arizona, there is a quick and easy way for a parent to grant temporary guardianship over their minor child. The parent can delegate his/her powers to another person simply by signing a power of attorney. A parent may also use this power of attorney as a limited power of attorney, specifying or limiting the scope of the guardianship and stating the date the authority that is granted will expire. In either case, the parental power of attorney cannot exceed a time frame of six (6) months.
Permanent Guardianship of a Minor Child
If a minor child is without a parent who is capable of raising the child, the child is in need of a permanent guardian. The person appointed is often related to the child or a close family friend. Once a guardian is appointed, that person has the legal authority to act on behalf of that child and raise that child as if they were the child's parent. Quite often grandparents will become guardians for their grandchildren if their children are not capable of raising the child due to substance abuse, imprisonment, or any other circumstance.
Guardianship of an Adult
The older population is growing in this country. As we reach our later years, we may need assistance with daily life. If you have a health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney, the person you selected in those documents can take over when and if that time comes. If you have not signed a power of attorney, someone will need to go to the Court and file a petition to be appointed as your legal guardian. A guardian is appointed to take over health care, where you will reside and other matters that do not include money and assets. Most commonly a child will be appointed as the guardian; however, if you have more than one child often times there is disagreement as to what is best for Mom or Dad and who should be appointed.
A guardianship can be costly if contested. Next month our newsletter will discuss conservatorships, when someone is appointed by the court to manage your money, in the event you are no longer able to do so.