3 Reasons You Should Have a Plan for Your Child
A plan will protect your child if you will be away from your child, or if you become unable to care for your child, or when a child turns 18.
When a Child is Away from Parents –
At a School or Other Activity – Provide up-to-date emergency contacts and authorized emergency pick-ups for school and other organizations.
In the Temporary Care of Someone Who is Not a Parent – Provide Minor Health Care Authorization to those individuals caring for children for short periods of time.
In the Longer-Term Care of Someone Who is Not a Parent – Provide a Temporary Parental Consent Agreement to those individuals caring for children during longer (but usually less than one year) periods of time. This can be used when parents and children are apart for longer, but not permanent, periods of time.
Traveling Out-of-State with Someone Who is Not a Parent – The state law (or if the child is traveling out of the country, the law of the country) where the child will be staying should be reviewed.
Should a Parent Become Unable to Care for a Child –
While the Child is With the Parent – Carry an emergency card with emergency contacts in your purse or wallet. Emergency contacts should include someone who is local and generally available.
Once a Child is in the Care of an Emergency Caregiver – Any emergency caregiver should have contact information for both parents, as well as any long-term guardians designated in a Durable Power of Attorney document or a Will.
Guardian – A Durable Power of Attorney document should designate a guardian, including alternates, for a minor child. Also consider interim situations where a long-term guardian may not be immediately available. A Will should also designate a minor child guardian and alternates. Note that the Durable Power of Attorney is the document effective during a parent’s lifetime, while the Will is the document that becomes effective at the point a parent is deceased. Care should be taken to make sure all documents are consistent with each other.
When a Child Turns 18, particularly if college-bound–
The Child is No Longer a Minor – At this point, the newly-turned young adult will need to sign their own Durable Power of Attorney to address who will manage health decisions upon any incapacity, and who will have access to their health care information. The young adult will also need to sign their own Durable Power of Attorney to address who will manage financial matters, including who will have authority to access digital assets, during any absence or incapacity. The young adult should prepare a Health Care Directive and a Will at this point, as well.