How do I make my two daughters guardians of their sister if I can't serve?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I am guardian for my daughter. My trust states that at my death, or if I become incapacitated, my two other children should become guardians of their sister. Question: Should I be traveling and unable to be reached and an emergency arises, what kind of legal document should the other two have to be able to make decisions concerning the welfare of their sister?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The laws in all states provide a legal fallback position for just the situation you describe. Depending on your state law, you can authorize your two other children to act if you are unable to do so in a limited, interim, or standby guardianship. You can find out the requirements and procedure for such an arrangement through your local probate court.

Beware that if you authorize both children to act jointly, then they must agree on all decisions. Depending on the sibling's dynamics, this may or may not be a roadblock. If you anticipate that your two other children may not be able to readily agree on decisions about your daughter's care and financial arrangements. Then consider naming one to act alone -- and the other to serve as back-up.