How to Give Power of Attorney to Grandparents Traveling with a Minor
By Beverly Bird
Even in the most delightful of circumstances, things can go wrong. If your child goes off on the adventure of her life with her grandparents and needs medical care while she is away, they might be in a fix if you don’t pave the way for emergencies ahead of time. Arming them with a simple power-of-attorney form will do the trick. This allows them to act in your place and authorize medical care for her when you’re not there.
Get a power of attorney form that you can use as a guide to create your own. There are several different kinds, so specifically look for one that authorizes grandparents to act on behalf of your child. These are usually available on your state’s website or from other sources online.
Use the power-of-attorney form to create your own, specifically for use when your child travels with her grandparents. Some parts of the form may not be applicable, such as authorizing them to make school decisions, because you’re creating the power of attorney for a specific, limited circumstance. You can leave out the parts that don't pertain to your situation.
Copy the rest of the form into your own POA. The beginning information will be the same, identifying you, your child and her grandparents. List your directives regarding exactly what kind of decisions you’re authorizing her grandparents to make, and for how long. Be as specific as possible. If there is anything you don’t want to authorize them to do, itemize these things as well in a separate paragraph.
Take the power-of-attorney form and a photo ID to a notary public. Don’t sign the POA ahead of time. The notary must witness you making your signature. Your child’s grandparents and other parent should go with you, because they must sign and have their signatures notarized as well.
Give the form to your child’s grandparents to take with them when they travel. If they’re going to a single location, you can also forward a copy to the hospital in that area, along with a letter, explaining the circumstances of your power of attorney. Follow up with a phone call to make sure the appropriate personnel received it.
A power of attorney does not involve the court. You don’t have to file it with the court and you don’t need a judge’s permission. You simply need to create it, have it notarized, and make sure it is in the proper hands.
You can revoke your power of attorney after your child’s trip by creating a second document, a revocation, if you have any concern that her grandparents may continue using the one you intended only for their trip. In some states, POAs are valid for up to a year, so if you don’t intend your child’s grandparents to continue making decisions on her behalf, take the precaution of undoing it by submitting revocations to her physicians and school.
If you're a single parent and you're not sure where her other parent is, you can sign the POA on your own. However, you must send a copy of it to him at his last known address by certified mail. You should also print out your state's statutes regarding powers of attorney and enclose a copy.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.