Power of Attorney for Consent to Medical Care of a Minor

By Heather Frances J.D.

Adults can consent to their own medical care, generally without the need for anyone else's input. But children--typically, minors under the age of 18--cannot provide legal consent. When a parent or legal guardian is not available to give consent in person, he can create a written power of attorney allowing someone else to consent on his behalf.

Agent's Authority

A health care power of attorney names someone else, called an agent, to make medical decisions regarding your child's care -- the same decisions you would be able to make if you were present. For example, if your child is spending the summer with his aunt in another state, you may wish to give Aunt Sally authority under a health care power of attorney. With the power of attorney, she could take him to the doctor if he gets sick. She is not, however, responsible for paying his medical care, and a health care power of attorney does not put your child on her health insurance plan.

Document Preparation

State laws determine the rules for creating a power of attorney, so it is important to know what your state requires. Generally, health care powers of attorney for children list basic information about the child, such as his name, birthdate and address, along with the agent's and parents' names and contact information. Health care powers of attorney typically have an expiration date as well. You can prepare this document yourself using an online legal document provider or attorney, or you may be able to find a form at your doctor's office or hospital.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now

Document Distribution

Depending on state law, your power of attorney may require the signature of both parents. For example, Wisconsin state law requires both parents to sign unless one parent has been granted sole custody over the child. Your state's laws may also require you to sign in front of a witness or notary. Once you have properly completed your power of attorney, you can distribute copies to those who need them. You can give a copy to your agent so he has the document available should he need to take your child for treatment. You can also give a copy to the medical providers who are likely to treat your child so they have the paperwork on file if your agent forgets to bring it. If you later choose to revoke the document, it is generally best to get the copies back.

Emergency Exception

While powers of attorney cover both emergency and non-emergency care, your child can receive emergency care even without a power of attorney. Thus, if your child needs emergency care while he is with another adult, doctors can still treat him. However, it is up to the health care provider to decide whether your child's condition is an emergency. If the condition is urgent but not an emergency, the health care provider cannot treat him without proper parental consent.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
Legal Guardianship in the State of Maine


Related articles

How to Grant a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document in which a person, known as the principal, authorizes legal authority to another, known as the agent, of attorney-in-fact. The function of a power of attorney is to allow the agent to perform legal acts, such as signing a tax return or consenting to medical treatment, on behalf of the principal. Many institutions, such as banks and hospitals, offer fill-in-the-blanks power of attorney forms; some state government websites offer forms for free download. You may draft your own form if you can't find a fill-in-the-blank form that meets your particular needs.

How to Relinquish Custody for the Purpose of Military Enlistment

Military enlistment and the possibility of deployment can radically alter family relationships. If you are facing the possibility of deployment after enlisting in the military, you may need to temporarily relinquish custody of your child, and discussing custody arrangements with the child's temporary guardian or other parent prior to deployment can make the process easier. If your relationship with the child's other parent is strained, you may wish to consult a family lawyer with experience in military law.

Medical Power of Attorney for Children

A medical power of attorney for a child, or child medical consent, is a legal form that is used when the parents are unable to consent to a child's medical treatment for a period of time. This can occur when the child is away at camp or under the care of a relative for a period of time. This form allows the caregiver to make medical care decisions that the parents would normally make.

Power of Attorney

Related articles

Kansas Statute on Power of Attorney

There are many tasks that you must do personally because of their legal or medical significance. For example, no one ...

Do You Have to Go to Court to Give Someone Power of Attorney Over a Minor?

When you create a power of attorney, you give someone else, known as your agent, authority to do something that you can ...

The State of Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney

Most adults are capable of making their own healthcare decisions with the assistance of their physicians and loved ...

Can a Sibling With Power of Attorney Prevent Other Siblings From Seeing a Parent?

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes an individual or a business to perform specific tasks on behalf ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED