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Guardians and Other Caregivers

Produced by Attorney Jeff Wolf and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2020

The pandemic probably makes you think more about caring for your children. See Planning for a family emergency.

When parents cannot take care of their child, they need someone else to. Another person, often a family member, can help. This person can be a caregiver or a guardian.

Getting a guardian means going to court. Sometimes you do not need to go to court.

There are 2 ways a person can become a child's caregiver that do not involve going to court:

  1. Caregiver Authorization: Parents give the caregiver written permission to make educational and medical decisions.
  2. Temporary Agent: Parents appoint the caregiver as temporary agent for up to 60 days.

And there are 2 ways a person can become a child's guardian that do involve going to court:

  1. Parental Appointment of a Guardian: Parents appoint someone to be guardian of their child.
  2. Court Appointment of a Guardian: The Court appoints a guardian for the child.

Watch a video . . .

about Alternatives to Guardianship for Selecting and Authorizing Caregivers.  

In this one hour video, legal aid lawyers explain different options available in Massachusetts for choosing and authorizing caregivers for minors and incapacitated people, specifically 18–23-year-olds, outside of filing a petition for guardianship through the court.  The video was recorded in January 2023.

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