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A minor's power of attorney is an estate planning option

When most Philadelphia residents consider making plans for their estates, they think about issues related to their own eventual death and how to provide for loved ones that will be left behind. However, there are other aspects of estate planning that also deserve consideration, some of which are highly specific to certain circumstances. An example involves a minor's power of attorney, which is a legal document that many people may have never considered at all.

A power of attorney for a minor is a legal document that authorizes a designated individual to make medical decisions for an underage child. This is important because medical professionals are bound by strict rules when it comes to providing treatment for a child who does not have a parent present. For families who regularly invite their child's friends along on vacations or other trips, having a minor's power of attorney is a topic worth discussing.

In the event of a serious illness or injury, hospital staff will need the permission of the child's parent or guardian before providing treatment. Simply assuming responsibility for a child while traveling does not automatically grant someone the right to make medical decisions on behalf of another child's parent. At the same time, however, delaying treatment while trying to obtain parental permission can have serious detrimental effects in cases where time is of the essence.

Parents in Philadelphia who are planning to travel with another family's child should consider broaching the topic of a minor's power of attorney with the child's parents prior to departure. Having this estate planning paperwork in place can provide peace of mind to all involved. In the vast majority of circumstances, the document will never need to be called into action and will serve as nothing more than an additional level of protection.

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

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