Parental Power of Attorney: The Legal Document Needed For Those Caring For Your Children

Whether the kids will be with Grandma and Grandpa or a nanny when you go on a quick get away or business trip, it is important to consider whether the person caring for your children has the legal tools necessary to care for your child in an emergency situation. As a parent, you have the ability to make legal and medical decisions for your children under eighteen (18) years of age. What happens, though, if your child gets sick while you are away, or when the child is on vacation without you? While we are often only a cellphone away, that is not always sufficient in an emergency situation.

A parental power of attorney is a document which may be used to give another individual the ability to make important decisions for your child or to consent to specific things while the child is in that person’s care. Similar to a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney, a parental power of attorney may be limited in scope or more general. The grant of the powers may be limited to the dates and length of a trip or may be broader in duration. Such a document could allow the caregiver to sign a consent or waiver required for your child to go on a school trip, or to an amusement park with a friend and their family, as well as to authorize an emergency appendectomy. Without the document, your child could be excluded from an activity or forced to wait for surgery until you can be located. Having a legally robust document may provide you peace of mind knowing that the individual caring for your child has all of the tools he or she needs in order to care for your child while you are away.

If you are planning travel or if your children will be traveling without you, you should consider executing a parental power of attorney.