Creating a medical power of attorney for a child is often included in estate planning. If you are unable to make healthcare decisions for your child, this legal document names an agent to act in your place.
Permission to Treat vs. Medical Power of Attorney for a Child
A “permission to treat” form is standard for summer camps, field trips, daycare, and even babysitters. This document allows the named person to seek medical assistance and approve treatment temporarily.
A medical power of attorney for a child can be enforced anytime parents are unable to approve treatment. It gives the agent medical decision-making authority.
Older Children Need Protection, Too
Your 18-year-old child is legally an adult. However, there are many situations that they may need your help.
If your high school graduate is backpacking in Europe and has an accident that makes them unable to decide their treatment, their care may be up to a doctor. Without a legal document in place, you won’t be able to get medical updates or request a course of treatment.
Although your college-bound child may still be on your health insurance plan and is listed as a dependent on your taxes, medical professionals are prohibited by privacy laws from sharing information with you after your child has turned 18. If your child is attending an out of state college, the document must meet legal requirements for the other state, too.
Accidents are a common occurrence among young adults. Creating a medical power of attorney for a child that names you as the medical decision-maker could help reduce confusion. Without a legal document, you will not be able to make a medical decision if your young adult child is unable.
Basic Requirements for Your Medical Power of Attorney for a Child
Any medical power of attorney for a child should include:
- Contact information – names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for the parent(s) or guardian(s)
- Contact information – names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for the agent (and any alternative agent)
- Medical powers or authority delegated to the agent
- Name and date of birth for all children covered by the medical power of attorney
- Signature of both parents
- When the agent’s authority begins and ends (for example, during incapacitation of the parents or in the event of a death of the parents through child’s 21st birthday)
The parent(s) or guardian(s) need to sign the medical power of attorney document. It must comply with Arizona laws.
How to Choose an Agent
Legally, any mentally competent adult may serve as the agent. It doesn’t have to be a family member. Your agent should be someone you trust. Someone who knows your children and is willing to take on responsibility for medical treatment is necessary.
To learn more about how to give an agent legal authority for your child’s medical care in an emergency, contact Ogborne Law to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We can also discuss estate planning to help protect your loved ones and property.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.