Obtaining the guardianship of a minor in Michigan can be a difficult and oftentimes confusing process. For non-lawyers especially, understanding the difference between a limited guardianship and full guardianship, the filing of petitions, and the preparation of a guardianship plan can be overwhelming. In those circumstances where one or both parents support the appointment of a particular person as guardian, however, many of the more burdensome steps of a traditional guardianship proceeding can be avoided entirely.
Parental appointment of a guardian is authorized by MCL 700.5201, but is frequently overlooked by people seeking to become a guardian. Essentially, this power allows the parent of an unmarried minor to appoint a guardian through a signed writing witnessed by two other people. If the proposed guardian then files an “acceptance” (the form for which can be found here), the guardianship then becomes effective. This approach is significantly less burdensome than the process for a court-appointed guardianship, which requires additional pleadings, hearings, and investigations into the guardian’s fitness.
A parental appointment cannot be used in every circumstance, however. For a parental appointment to be effective, the parent making the appointment must retain his or her parental rights. In addition, the other parent must be deceased, had his or her parental rights terminated, or been adjudged to be legally incapacitated. Id. A parental appointment can also be made by will if both parents are deceased, in which case the appointment becomes effective upon the guardian’s filing of an acceptance in the court where the will is being probated.
Parties seeking to be made the guardian of a minor should first consultant with an attorney to determine whether a parental appointment would be appropriate in their particular circumstance. If you are a parent seeking to appoint a guardian for your minor child, or a prospective guardian who would like to learn more about the parental appointment process, don’t hesitate to give our office a call!
We’re available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today at (888) 211-5798 or submit an online contact form to get started immediately.