If you are planning to leave your child or children at home for an extended period of time, you should consider leaving certain caregiver documentation forms such as a Power of Attorney, Permission Letter, a Medical Consent Letter, and a Standby Guardian Designation with the child’s caregiver.
With the kids out of school and summer right around the corner, many families are planning or preparing for their vacations. For the parents who will be taking a kids-free vacation this year, there are a few caregiver documentation forms you should consider leaving with child’s caregiver.
If You Have Kids, You Need an Estate Plan in Place
I know, none of us want to think about dying, but if you have children, it is very important to have an estate plan in place so that you have peace of mind about what will happen to them should the unthinkable happen to you. This plan should include guardian nominations, information about how your assets should be held or distributed, and guidance to those you’ve entrusted to carry out your wishes—especially regarding your most precious responsibilities: your children.
Ideally you would already have all this documentation in place soon after the birth of your children, but we understand those first few years are hectic and this is something that may have fallen to the wayside. We also understand that this is a stressful process. We are here to help! Give us a call (ideally, well in advance of your planned vacation) and we can discuss your estate, needs, and the best solution for your family.
Maybe you already have a fully executed estate plan in place. If so, congrats! You’re doing great! But you’re wondering if you should leave any documentation behind while you go on that well-deserved kids-free vacation. Below we’ll discuss the forms we recommend you leave with your child’s caretaker:
Power of Attorney For Care of a Minor Child
You may have heard of a Power of Attorney for estate planning purposes; however, this legal document pertains to the care of your child(ren). Under Georgia law, for a person to be named Power of Attorney for a child, they must be 1) an adult, and 2) a Georgia resident. The individual does not have to be directly related to the child. This form gives the caregiver the power and authority to arrange for medical, dental, or mental health treatment; to access educational or medical records; and to provide for their food, lodging, and entertainment.
You can also grant additional, specific powers via this form, such as the ability to sign forms for the child or to write checks on their behalf. Both the parent and the caregiver must sign the form, and the document also must be notarized. The parent can make the Power of Attorney form effective for one year, for a specific period of time (such as the time you will be on the vacation), or effective until revoked.
Written Authorization or Permission Letter
This is a non-legal letter that authorizes the caregiver to perform certain activities on behalf of the child(ren), such as picking the kids up from daycare or signing school/camp permission slips. The document should include the parent’s travel plans, his or her contact information while on vacation, the caregiver’s contact information, and a brief description of the parent/caregiver arrangement. In addition to leaving a copy with your child(ren) and the caregiver, it is also a good idea to send a copy to the child’s school, daycare, summer camp, or anywhere else the caregiver may need to make decisions or act on behalf of the child.
Medical Consent Letter
If your child needs medical treatment while you are on vacation, the caregiver must have your permission to treat them. A medical consent letter gives the caregiver the ability to authorize that medical treatment. Parents should prepare a medical consent letter for each of their children. The document should include the contact information for the doctor’s office, what medical treatments the caregiver may authorize in your absence, and who to contact in case of emergency. You may also want to include a copy of the child’s insurance card. Many doctor’s offices have a standard Medical Consent Letter for parents to fill out; however, it is important to note that both the parent and the caregiver may have to sign the form and/or the form be notarized before it is effective.
Designation of a Standby Guardian
This is a lesser known and lesser understood document. But if you have minor children, it is a very important basic estate planning document. You likely have a guardian set up in your will and you know that when you die this person will take charge of your child and will legally be able to make decisions. However, this nomination within your will is only effective in case of your death. The designation of standby guardian allows for you to name a guardian should a triggering event take place while you are living (this could be your incapacity, a vacation, etc.). As the name implies, this person is standing by for whatever is needed at the time of the triggering event. Many parents choose to designate a close friend who
lives locally rather than a relative living far away, as the hope for this document is that the guardianship is only temporary and the parent will be able to resume their parenting duties after the triggering event is resolved.
You can learn more about Standby Guardianship here.
If you have additional questions about what caregiver documentation forms to leave with your children and their caregiver, or if you would like to set up an estate planning consultation, contact Siedentopf Law via our website at EstateLawAtlanta.com or by calling (404) 736 – 6066.
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