Implementing a medical power of attorney for children is a wise decision if you are not always readily available to your child. For example, consider a more limited medical power of attorney for children if your child spends part of the day in school or daycare. If you are away from home for more extended periods of time (active military duty, for example) consider a broader medical power of attorney that covers not only covers more immediate medical issues but more long term health care decisions as well.
The function of a medical power of attorney for children is to designate a specific individual as your agent to make certain health care or medical decisions on behalf of your child in your absence. The agent is the legal term for the person you select to make these decisions on behalf of your child. Under power of attorney law, as the person who created the instrument you are known as the principal. Technically speaking the agent is not acting on behalf of your minor child. Rather, the agent is acting on your behalf, as you possess the ability to make medical care and treatment decisions on behalf of your child.
You can establish a termination date within the medical power of attorney itself. For example, if you know that you will be away from your home and child until a specific date, you can include a provision terminating the power of attorney on or shortly after the date you return. Consider setting a date at least several days beyond what you believe is your return date to cover the possibility you end up detained. The laws of all states also permit you to terminate a medical power of attorney for children at any other time you desire.
The most common misconception about a medical power of attorney for children is that the instrument continues after you die. The reality is that a medical power of attorney for children is automatically terminated upon your death.
The primary benefit of a medical power of attorney for children is ensuring that there always is a responsible adult available to make sound medical care and treatment decisions on behalf of your child. Through a power of attorney, you establish the types of treatments and procedures that you deem acceptable for your child.
The laws vary from one state to another in regard to executing or signing a medical power of attorney for children. Some states require a notary public present when signing a power of attorney. Other states require one or two witnesses to the execution of a power of attorney. A final variation involves both a notary and a witness or two at the signing of a power of attorney.
- "A Practitioner's Guide to Powers of Attorney"; John Thurston; 2007
- Lectric Law: Power of Attorney
- Hand and document at the meeting image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from Fotolia.com