Standby Guardianship Can Be An Important Part Of Estate Planning

March 23, 2018 | By Leslie B. Spoltore

Although Delaware’s Standby Guardianship Act became law nearly a decade ago, many are still unfamiliar with the concept.  This type of guardianship serves such an important purpose and is important to understand.

Sadly, it seems as though everyone has been impacted by a friend, family member, or mentor who receives a terminal diagnosis and is gone too soon.  If that friend or family member is caring for minor children, the diagnosis may raise questions about who will care for them.

Standby Guardianship may offer a solution.  In short, standby guardianship allows a parent or guardian afflicted with a progressive, chronic condition or terminal illness to make arrangements for the future care of their child if the child’s other parent is unwilling or unable to do so.  The appointment can be made without terminating the parent or guardian’s own legal rights.  In fact, a standby guardian, if appointed, does not assume his/her role and responsibilities until a triggering event occurs.  Triggering events include (i) a determination that the ill parent or guardian is deceased, incapacitated or debilitated, or (ii) the ill parent or guardian agrees in writing that the standby guardian may assume their role.  If a standby guardian is appointed and a triggering event occurs, the standby guardian can assume the role of guardian and can exercise the same powers, rights and duties respecting the care, maintenance and treatment of the child as a parent.

Additional information on this important option may be found here.

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.

Categorized In: Custody

About the Authors

Leslie Spoltore - Wimington divorce lawyer

Leslie B. Spoltore


Delaware Family Law and Commercial Attorney. Leslie focuses her practice on family law along with commercial and corporate litigation. In her family law practice, Leslie assists clients with divorce, adoptions, child support...

Read More by Author