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Guardians and Other Caregivers

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed May 2023

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 . . .

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 people who are incapacitated, specifically 18–23-year-olds, outside of filing a petition for guardianship through the court. The video was recorded in January 2023. 

Guardianship of Minors

In this 42-minute video, legal aid lawyers break down the process and requirements for becoming the guardian of a child under 18 years old in Massachusetts. The video was recorded in April 2023.

Guardianship of Incapacitated Persons

In this one hour video, legal aid lawyers explain the process and requirements for becoming the guardian for an incapacitated adult, with a focus on guardianships for young adults between 18 and 23 years old. This video was recorded in May 2023.

View presentation slides . . .

You can download the slides from these presentations by legal aid lawyers as PDFs: 

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