Want to share what you like about MassLegalHelp with us?


Appoint a Temporary Agent - You do not need the court

Produced by 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.

You may not be able to care for your child because of work, or you are sick or you are travelling.

A Temporary Agent is a person you give the legal responsibility to care for and make important decisions for your child when you cannot.

You can give the temporary agent the power to make almost any decision that you can make for your child like

  • Decide where your child stays
  • Make medical decisions
  • Make educational decisions
  • Take money out of a bank account you have for your child

There are 2 decisions no temporary agent can make for your child:

No temporary agent can agree to let

  • your child marry or
  • be adopted.

Can anyone besides parents appoint a Temporary Agent?

Yes. A guardian of a minor child can appoint a Temporary Agent for the child.

How long can the appointment last?

Up to 60 days from the day the Temporary Agent signs the Appointment.

How do I appoint a Temporary Agent?

The Appointment has to be written.

Sign the appointment in front of 2 witnesses who are over 18. The Temporary Agent cannot be one of the 2 witnesses.  

The witnesses sign the form.

And the Temporary Agent must also sign the form.

When is a parent not permitted to appoint a Temporary Agent?

You may not appoint a Temporary Agent if:

  • your parental rights have been terminated,
  • you gave up your child for adoption voluntarily,
  • a court ordered your child to be placed in the custody of another person,
  • your child’s other parent is willing and able to take care of your child. In this case, the other parent can agree to the appointment of a Temporary Agent in writing.

Can I end or change the appointment?

Yes. A parent or guardian who appointed a Temporary Agent can end or change the appointment. You must notify everyone who has an interest in the appointment. Ending an appointment is also called revoking or terminating. Changing an appointment is also called amending.


If you need a Temporary Agent because you are afraid that immigration enforcement may separate your family from your child, use a different form. See Planning for a Family Emergency - Temporary Agent.

Forms you can use

Temporary Agent Appointment

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Volunteer Lawyers Project Clinics

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
9am - 12pm and 1pm - 4pm