A child’s Power of Attorney (POA) enables parents and legal guardians to grant temporary legal authority to another adult for making decisions about their minor child’s care.
Designate a child’s caregiver with authority for crucial decisions in medical, education, and more; usually known as an agent or attorney-in-fact in a POA.
When to Have a Power of Attorney for a Child
A power of attorney for a child is valuable in various situations, granting legal authority to a caregiver when you’re away for an extended period. Common reasons for using a child’s POA include:
- Extended vacations or distant work assignments.
- Hospitalization or health issues requiring prolonged care.
- Active military deployment.
For shorter durations where only medical decision-making is needed, a medical treatment consent form suffices.
Agent Authority Under the Power of Attorney for a Child
A child’s power of attorney empowers the caregiver to act as a parent when you’re absent, without terminating your parental rights or custody.
The extent of authority can be broad or narrow, but some rights, like adoption, remain with you.
Specific powers can be listed, e.g., healthcare decisions and travel, while limiting others, such as enrolling your child in school for a summer caregiver.
Choosing an Agent for Your Child
Choose someone with a strong bond with your child, like a family member or trusted friend.
Ensure they’re capable of making sound decisions for your child. Consider their health, schedule, and ability to handle school, daycare, sports, and activities.
Discuss your expectations with the potential agent to establish boundaries and align on your child’s welfare. This allows them to decline if uncomfortable and ensures they share your values and goals.
Length of a Power of Attorney for a Child
A child’s POA usually lasts six months to one year, depending on state law. You can shorten this time, but not exceed your state’s limit.
For longer durations, you can create a new POA. Military members on active duty follow federal law, with the POA lasting until their return.
You can revoke the POA before it expires. Inform your agent, healthcare providers, and schools to avoid confusion.
What You Need to Create a Power of Attorney for a Child
Creating a child’s POA requires:
- Your and the agent’s names, birthdates, and contact details.
- Children’s names and birthdates.
- Start and end details.
- List of powers for the agent.
For joint legal custody, both parents sign. If one is unreachable after written contact, one parent’s signature may suffice. A legal guardian can also sign.
The document should be notarized for legal validity. The agent should hold the notarized POA, health insurance cards, and ID, while you keep a copy. If in another state, comply with local laws.