Standby Guardianship

Giving parents a peace of mind.

Originally crafted in response to the HIV/AIDs epidemic in the 80s, the Surrogate Court Procedure Act allowed parents who were terminally ill to designate a trusted person as their children’s guardian after their death or incapacity. Years later in 2018, LegalHealth led a coalition to expand the Standby Guardianship bill, which amends the Surrogate Court Procedure Act to enable immigrant parents to appoint a standby guardian in the event of an “administrative separation,” such as an arrest, detention, incarceration, removal, or deportation by immigration enforcement.

Then, in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we relealized another urgent need to expand the law. An executive order was signed by Governor Cuomo to modify sections of the Act to provide that any parent, a legal guardian, a legal custodian, or primary caretaker who works or volunteers in a health care facility or who reasonably believes that they may otherwise be exposed to COVID-19, to designate a standby guardian.

With these updates, more parents have the ability to make an appointment or designation of guardian that only takes effect upon a triggering event. This legal tool gives parents more peace of mind in ensuring the long-term safety of their children.

Download Standby Guardianship one-pagers.

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