A guardianship letter is a legal document that allows a person to hand over their guardianship rights to a different party. In most cases, this happens where the parent of an underage child needs to transfer guardianship of the child temporarily to another person, resulting in a temporary guardianship. This can be necessary due to factors such as:
- The original parent or guardian will be physically absent for a short period of time, such as if the parent or guardian is going on vacation or a business trip
- The original guardian has become temporarily incapacitated or unable to care for the ward
- The guardian is in jail or a similar situation
Guardianship letters often need to be approved by a court; arrangements of a more permanent nature often need more court intervention and approval.
What Should Be Included in a Guardianship Letter?
It is very important that a guardianship letter be carefully drafted, with much attention being paid to the terms and details of the arrangement. A well-written guardianship letter should include important information such as:
- Names and contact information of all parties involved, including the ward, the previous guardian, and the new guardian or guardians
- Important dates, such as when the new guardianship arrangement should begin and when it should be terminated
- Additional conditions relating to termination of the guardianship arrangement
- The range or scope of rights and authority that the guardian can exercise
- Special instructions regarding medical care, dietary guidelines, and similar issues
- Whether the guardianship rights can be further transferred to another party
Lastly, in order for the letter to be legally enforceable, it needs to be notarized or approved by a court authority.
What If I Have a Dispute over a Guardianship Letter?
One of the more common disputes over a guardianship letter has to do with the scope of the guardianship’s authority. These should be clearly defined in the document. For instance, the document should indicate details such as whether or not the guardian can make medical decisions on behalf of the ward. Other details should be worked out between the parties. Violations of the letter can lead to legal action or a lawsuit, especially if the violation has caused damages to the ward or to the previous guardians.
Disputes over a guardianship letter can be avoided through a careful and thoughtful drafting and editing process. The more you are able to cover in the letter, the less chance there will be that a misinterpretation or dispute will occur.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Guardianship Letter?
Guardianship letters can often contain a large amount of detailed information. You may wish to hire a family lawyer if you need assistance with a guardianship letter. Your attorney can help when it comes to drafting, editing, and submitting the letter for approval. Also, if you have any disputes or conflicts over a guardianship issue, your lawyer can represent you in court during meetings and hearings.