Temporary Medical Power of Attorney for Child

By Anna Assad

A temporary medical power of attorney for a child allows a caregiver to make medical decisions for the child on behalf of the parents. Parents commonly use this type of power of attorney to ensure their child's safety if they're going to be unavailable to give consent to emergency or routine treatments. Although only one parent is needed to grant the caregiver powers, the other parent retains more authority over the child than the named caregiver.


Formats for a temporary medical power of attorney for a child vary by state, but all include the names and addresses of the parents, child and caregiver and the child's birth date. A parent may name a successor caregiver who can act only if the first caregiver is unable to. Parents list the caregiver's powers in the main body of the document along with any limitations. For example, the parents can limit the caregiver's authority to emergency treatment only. Most medical powers of attorney for children must be signed and dated by the parents in front of a licensed notary, and the caregiver might also have to sign.


A parent can grant a caregiver the right to make all medical decisions if she wishes to do so, but she can also choose to restrict the caregiver's powers to particular dates. For example, if the power of attorney is only so the caregiver can authorize medical assistance for the child while the parents are on vacation, the parents can restrict the powers to the dates of the trip by including those dates on the document.

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A temporary medical power of attorney for a child is usually limited and nondurable. A nondurable power of attorney ends if the giver becomes incapacitated or incompetent. Because the parents granted the authority — a minor can't grant power of attorney — the powers immediately end if the parents become incapacitated or incompetent. Some state laws place expiration dates, such as six months after the day of signing, on powers of attorney for a child's medical care. These expiration dates prevail if the power of attorney doesn't include a time limit.


Parents can grant medical powers as part of a boarder grant of authority on a power of attorney meant for temporary child care. The power of attorney allows the caregiver to act for the parents in various situations, including school enrollment and sports activities. Some powers aren't allowed, even if included in the power of attorney, because of state laws. For example, in Oregon, no power of attorney for a minor can grant the caregiver the authority to consent to the child's marriage or adoption.

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