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Before travel, consider a minor's power of attorney

Many Tennessee parents open their hearts and their homes to their children's friends. On occasion, friends are even invited along on family vacations or other trips. Planning for these trips involves shuffling schedules, contacting parents, and making sure that everyone is on track to have a great time. However, it is also important to consider adding a minor's power of attorney to the planning process.

A minor's power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes an individual to make medical decisions on behalf of another child's parents. Because children are not able to consent to medical care on their own, parental permission is required. Medical professionals throughout the country are bound by very strict rules when it comes to providing treatment to a child whose parent is not present to authorize such action. If the family has brought along a child who is not their own and an accident takes place, this can lead to a difficult set of circumstances.

The best way to approach this issue is to discuss the matter with the child's parents well before it's time to leave on a trip. A simple power of attorney can be created that will give authorization to make medical decisions for a limited window of time. Of course, in most situations it will be possible to contact the child's parents and have them participate in the decision-making process. However, having this paperwork in place ensures that medical attention can be obtained as swiftly as possible.

This is an estate planning topic that many in Tennessee may have never considered. However, for families who regularly travel with children who are not their own, having access to a basic minor's power of attorney is a good idea. Parents who are planning to send their own child with a friend's family might also want to consider discussing this topic prior to the beginning of the trip.

Source:, "Minor's medical power of attorney", Christopher Yugo, July 24, 2016

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