Standby Guardianship - Missouri

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Who Can Nominate a Standby Guardian

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 475.046

A custodial parent may designate a person to act as standby guardian of a minor.

The laws applicable to guardianship proceedings shall apply to all proceedings under this section, except to the extent determined by the court to be inconsistent with the provisions of this section or as expressly provided in this section.

How to Establish a Standby Guardian

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 475.046

The designation of a standby guardian may be made in a will that complies with the requirements of § 474.320 or by a separate written instrument that is dated and is either duly executed and acknowledged by the custodial parent or is signed by the custodial parent in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses. If the custodial parent executes more than one document designating a standby guardian and there is a conflict between the documents as to the person designated, the document bearing the latest date shall control.

If a custodial parent who has designated a standby guardian is or becomes seriously ill, either the custodial parent or the person designated as standby guardian may file a petition in the probate division of the circuit court of the county that would be of proper venue for the appointment of a guardian for the child. A copy of the will or written instrument designating the standby guardian and a consent to act as standby guardian signed by the designated person shall be filed with the petition. The petition shall state the following:

  • The name, age, domicile, actual place of residence, and mailing address of the minor
  • The name and address of the custodial parent and the designated standby guardian
  • The name and address of each parent of the minor and whether that parent is living or dead
  • The name and address of the spouse, if applicable, and the names, ages, and addresses of all living children of the minor
  • If the person for whom appointment of a standby guardian is sought has been adjudicated incapacitated, the date of adjudication and the name and address of the court that entered the judgment
  • The reasons why the appointment of a standby guardian is sought

How Standby Authority is Activated

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 475.046

The court shall determine appointment of a standby guardian in accordance with the best interests of the minor after considering all relevant factors, including the following:

  • Whether there is a parent other than the custodial parent and, if so, whether the other parent is willing, able, and fit to assume the duties of a parent
  • The suitability of a person nominated by the minor, if he or she is able to communicate a reasonable choice
  • The desirability of providing arrangements for the care, custody, and control of the minor that shall minimize stress and disruption and avoid his or her placement in foster or similar care pending appointment of a guardian if the custodial parent is adjudicated incapacitated or dies

The authority of a person to act as standby guardian for a minor shall take effect only as follows:

  • If the person has previously been appointed by the court as standby guardian, upon the granting of letters of standby guardianship to that person
  • If the person has not previously been appointed as standby guardian, either because a petition for appointment has not been filed or because the proceedings are still pending, upon the first to occur of the following:
    • The duly-executed consent of the custodial parent
    • Entry of an order adjudicating the custodial parent to be incapacitated
    • The death of the custodial parent

The person shall, within 10 days after he or she begins to act as standby guardian, notify the court in writing of that fact. The court may grant letters of standby guardianship to the person or, if the court deems it advisable, conduct a hearing to determine the propriety of the person having begun, and continuing, to act as standby guardian and the propriety of issuing letters of standby guardianship to the person.

Involvement of the Noncustodial Parent

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Authority Relationship of the Parent and the Standby

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 475.046

Nothing in this section shall be construed to:

  • Deprive a parent of his or her legal rights with respect to a child of that parent, including court-ordered visitation with the child, nor to authorize a grant of authority to a standby guardian that would supersede any such rights
  • Relieve a parent of his or her legal obligations or duties to a child of that parent, including a duty to support the child in accordance with a court or administrative order

Withdrawing Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 475.083

The authority of a guardian terminates:

  • When a minor ward becomes age 18
  • Upon an adjudication that an incapacitated or disabled person has been restored to his or her capacity or ability
  • Upon revocation of the letters of the guardian
  • Upon the acceptance by the court of the resignation of the guardian
  • Upon the death of the ward
  • Upon an order of court terminating the guardianship