If you are the parent of young children, you may occasionally need to leave them in the care of a close friend during a quick business trip, or perhaps with the grandparents while you take a kid-free holiday. Or, you may routinely leave your children in the care of a nanny. When and if you do, you should consider taking the step of creating a Parental Power of Attorney (POA), also called a Power of Attorney for Child.
Like all POAs, this legal instrument grants another person, called the “agent,” the authority to make decisions that only you would otherwise be able to make. If you are not immediately reachable during a time-sensitive situation, whether a life-threatening emergency or a more routine matter, the parental POA allows your trusted agent to make decisions for your child on your behalf.
An example of such a situation is a case of a medical emergency, perhaps a broken limb or appendicitis. Another is an activity that requires parental consent, such as a field trip for school or a visit to the go-cart track with friends. In these cases, a parental POA allows your agent to provide consent, preventing delayed medical care or exclusion from activities.
Like any POA, a parental POA is highly customizable in terms of the scope of authority granted and its duration. Sometimes a simple note is sufficient, but this more robust option can give you greater peace of mind and flexibility. If you plan to leave your child in the care of another for any significant length of time, speak with your estate planning attorney about a parental power of attorney.