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Powers of Attorney For Minors And Eighteen Year Olds

Powers of Attorney For Minors

Let’s say you are getting ready to take the backpacking trip of a lifetime. You think you will have decent cell service for the whole trip, but you aren’t totally sure. You are leaving your 2 kids, Matt who is 10 and Emma who is 8, with your sister, Judy, and brother-in-law, John.  As much as you trust Judy and John, you can’t shake that nagging feeling that something awful will happen while you are out of town. Is there anything you can do to help ease your worries? Yes. You can put together a Power of Attorney that names Judy and John to make all kinds of decisions for your kids if you are not reachable. What kinds of decisions you may ask?

  1. Medical decisions. Judy and John can take care of any medical situations while you are gone, from an appointment for Matt because he has an ear infection to emergency surgery for Emma who needs her appendix taken out. Although you and I both know that the likelihood that anything will happen while you are incommunicado is extremely rare, this Power of Attorney can give you peace of mind.
  2. School decisions. Judy and John can sign permission slips at school for an upcoming field trip. They can attend a back to school night and talk to the teacher about how Matt and Emma are doing in school.
  3. Judy and John can make any type of parenting decision if necessary.

Concerns:

  1. Can Judy and John steal your kids? They won’t, but part of the reason why they won’t is because the Power of Attorney you give them has the dates it’s effective. If you are out of town from September 1 through September 8, then the Power of Attorney is good from September 1 through September 8 only. If you go away again in December, and leave the kids with Judy and John, you need to sign a new Power of Attorney.
  2. What if you only tolerate John, but love Judy and so you just want to name Judy? Here is the issue. What if Matt gets sick during the day at school?  Judy is tied up at work, but John is free to pick Matt up and take him to the doctor. You want to be sure that John has authority to do that as well as Judy.
  3. What if you have sole custody of Matt and Emma and no idea where their dad is? I recommend to my clients that the Power of Attorney include a statement about custody and whether dad is in the picture or not. If you have joint custody with the dad, then you would want to discuss, with the dad, why the kids would be staying with Judy and John instead of with him.
Power of Attorney For Children

Powers of Attorney for Eighteen Year Olds

Your son, Chase, just turned 18. He is living at home with you, thinking about going to college or getting a job. He is on your health insurance and you are paying most of his bills. You are still very involved in Chase’s daily life.

HOWEVER, one very important thing is different about Chase. He is now legally an adult. You no longer have any legal right or entitlement to know about anything medical or financial related to your son.

If Chase does not give you written authority to handle his medical care if he is incapacitated, you will not be given any information from his doctors. If Chase does not give you written authority to handle his finances if he is incapacitated, you will not be given any information from the bank. Chase needs to sign a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney, stating that you can still make medical decisions for him if he is incapacitated. He also needs to sign a Financial Durable General Power of Attorney, stating that you can still make financial decisions for him if he is incapacitated.

Believe it or not, if Chase does not sign Powers of Attorney for you, you will need to go to court to get this authority. Let’s say Chase is in a terrible car accident. He has emergency surgery to set his broken leg and broken arm. He is loopy on morphine the next day after the surgery.  The doctors determine that a second surgery is necessary.  They need Chase’s signature, which he can’t give due to the medication.  The doctors can legally say to you that you cannot sign the consent form for Chase without a Power of Attorney.  Your only recourse at that point would be to go to court and get an emergency order appointing you as Chase’s guardian.  Then, you would be able to sign the consent form.

Hyatt Legal Plans and ARAG legal insurance both cover the Powers of Attorney for Matt, Emma and Chase.

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