There is a unique area of guardianship law referred to as “standby” or “pre-need” guardianship, which allows for the special transfer of child custody in specific situations. Each state has its own position on this law, and not all states allow it. This article will discuss the Nevada standby guardianship laws and how they can be used as part of your estate plan, to ensure the protection and care of your minor children, if something should happen to you.
A standby guardianship, or pre-need guardianship, is a mechanism for parents to prepare for the future care of their children, upon their death or incapacity. Typically, the parent making the declaration or nomination is chronically ill, or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Approximately 26 states have passed legislation recognizing this very specific type of guardianship. This type of guardianship is only triggered by the parent’s death, mental incapacity, or physical debilitation. As such, the named guardian is on “standby” until that triggering event occurs.
In Nevada, a parent is allowed to nominate or appoint a short-term guardian in writing for the child without approval of a court, as long as it is for an unmarried minor child, of which the parent has legal custody. If the child is age 14 or older, he or she must be notified and provide written consent.
The appointment of a short-term guardian must be in writing, and it becomes effective immediately upon execution. The document must identify the appointed guardian and include the date on which the guardian is appointed, the name of the parent appointing the guardian, and the minor child for whom the guardian is appointed. The document must be signed by the parent and the guardian, in the presence of a notary public.
A short-term guardian serves for 6 months, unless the written instrument appointing the guardian specifies a shorter term or specifies that the guardianship is to terminate upon the occurrence of an event that takes place sooner than 6 months. The appointment of a short-term guardian does not affect the rights of the other parent of the minor.
A standby or short-term guardian cannot be appointed for a minor child if there is another parent whose parental rights have not been terminated or whose whereabouts are known. If the other parent is willing and able to care for the minor, the rights of that parent must be considered before appointing a short-term guardian.
If you have questions regarding guardianships, or any other estate planning needs involving minor children, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd., either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.