Standby Guardianship - Montana

Date: June 2018

Who Can Nominate a Standby Guardian

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 72-5-211; 72-5-213; 72-5-222; 72-5-223; 72-5-224

The parent of a minor may appoint by will a guardian of an unmarried minor. A minor 14 years of age or older may prevent an appointment of the minor€„¢s testamentary guardian from becoming effective or may cause a previously accepted appointment to terminate by filing with the court in which the will is probated a written objection to the appointment before it is accepted or within 30 days after notice of its acceptance.

The court may appoint a guardian for an unmarried minor if all parental rights of custody have been terminated or if parental rights have been suspended or limited by circumstances or prior court order.

The court may appoint as guardian any person whose appointment would be in the best interests of the minor, including the minor's interest in continuity of care. The court shall appoint a person nominated by the minor if the minor is age 14 or older, unless the court finds the appointment contrary to the best interests of the minor.

How to Establish a Standby Guardian

Citation: Ann. Code § 72-5-201

A person becomes a guardian of a minor by acceptance of a testamentary appointment or upon appointment by the court. Letters of guardianship must indicate whether the guardian was appointed by will or by court order. The guardianship status continues until terminated, without regard to the location from time to time of the guardian and minor ward.

How Standby Authority is Activated

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 72-5-202; 72-5-211

By accepting a testamentary or court appointment as guardian, a guardian submits personally to the jurisdiction of the court in any proceeding relating to the guardianship that may be instituted by any interested person. Notice of any proceeding must be delivered to the guardian or mailed to the guardian by ordinary mail at the guardian's address as listed in the court records and to the guardian's address as then known to the petitioner.

Upon acceptance of an appointment, written notice of acceptance must be given by the guardian to the minor and to the person having the minor's care or to the minor's nearest adult relatives.

Involvement of the Noncustodial Parent

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Authority Relationship of the Parent and the Standby

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Withdrawing Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 72-5-233; 72-5-234

A guardian's authority and responsibility terminates upon the death, resignation, or removal of the guardian or upon the minor's death, adoption, marriage, or attainment of majority. Resignation of a guardian does not terminate the guardianship until it has been approved by the court.

Any person interested in the welfare of a ward or the ward, if age 14 or older, may petition for removal of a guardian on the grounds that removal would be in the best interests of the ward. A guardian may petition for permission to resign. A petition for removal or for permission to resign may, but need not, include a request for appointment of a successor guardian.

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