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North Carolina Standby Guardianship Law

Standby guardianship allows parents, who have chronic, debilitating, or terminal medical conditions or illnesses, to make care and custody plans for their children that will take effect at some future date.  The commencement of a standby guardian’s authority cannot by itself divest a parent of any parental right or obligation.  A petition filed by a parent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian should Identify the petitioner, the minor child, and the person designated to be the standby guardian.  The petition should state that the authority of the standby guardian is to become effective upon the petitioner’s death, incapacity, or debilitation, with the consent of the petitioner, or upon the petitioner’s signing of a written consent stating that the standby guardian’s authority is in effect, whichever occurs first.  The fact that the petitioner suffers from a progressively chronic illness or an irreversible fatal illness, and the basis for such a statement, such as the date and source of a medical diagnosis, without requiring the identification of the illness in question should also be underlined in the petition.

A standby guardian may also be designated by a parent through a written designation, signed by the parent in the presence of two witnesses who are at least age 18.  The witnesses should be persons other than the standby guardian, who shall also sign the document.  The fact that the requirements of the statute have been satisfied is required to be evidenced at the hearing.

A standby guardian’s authority commences upon the parent’s death, mental incapacity, physical debilitation with consent, or by a written consent.  All confirming documents have to be filed with the court within 90 days of the triggering event by the standby guardian.  If the guardianship is by written designation, the standby guardian must petition the court within 90 days for appointment as guardian followed by a notice to any biological or adoptive parent.

A standby guardianship may be revoked by the petitioner by executing a written revocation, filing it with the court, and notifying the standby guardian.  Before commencement of the person’s authority, the standby guardian may renounce the appointment by executing a written renunciation, and filing it with the court.  The standby guardian may also provide the petitioner with a copy of the renunciation.


Inside North Carolina Standby Guardianship Law