Leaving Kids while You Travel | Ask an Ann Arbor Expert

Today’s Ask an Expert is sponsored by Hayley Rohn, PLLC. Hayley is an estate planning attorney and today is sharing advice on legal preparations for leaving your children behind while you go on vacation.

Editor’s Note: Somehow, I always seem to be on the opposite end – my daughter leaving us behind while she goes on vacation with my parents. They’ve taken her to Walt Disney World 4 times and Boston once. It is definitely a lot easier sending an 11.5 year old as I did earlier this summer than a just-turned 4 year old, as I did the first time.

Leaving Kids While You Travel

When you are planning to go on vacation and plan to leave your kids with grandparents or a sitter, you will probably have a long list of things that the caregiver needs to know about your kids or things you need to pack with your kids (I admit I did when I left my older son with his grandparents and it was only for two nights!). There is however one thing you may not have thought of to leave with the caregiver: a temporary medical power of attorney.

Temporary Medical Power of Attorney

This is a document that delegates the power to obtain medical care and treatment in the event of an emergency. It also gives the caregiver the ability to talk with your child’s doctors under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). You could certainly expand on these powers and add some more powers depending on your situation and how long you will be away, but at a minimum, you need something giving them the ability to seek medical treatment, especially if you’re just going on vacation. Presumably, you’ll still be reachable by phone, email or video chat to assist. Your child’s pediatrician’s office and school or daycare will probably also have a consent form that you will want to fill out too just in case they won’t accept a power of attorney and HIPAA authorization. Just be sure to remind the caregiver to keep this document with them if they were to travel anywhere with the kids (or at least keep it in the glove compartment of their car, for example).

Doctor Treating Teddy Bear

In addition to a temporary power of attorney, which, by the way would need to be notarized when you sign it, I recommend you also leave with the caregivers a copy of your Will which appoints the guardian of your children if you die while on your trip. This would at least help the caregiver and the authorities identify who your children should be placed with to avoid any risk that they would have to stay with Child Protective Services or a foster family until formal guardianship is in place.

I also recommend you leave with the caregiver your child’s health insurance information and a detailed list of important information about your child, their medications/vitamins, contact information for doctors, teachers and back-up babysitters or close family and friends, and your travel itinerary.

If anything else, hopefully you’ll at least be able to relax more while you’re on a much-deserved vacation without the kids!

Please contact me at hayley@hayleyrohnlaw.com if I can be of assistance with you about this document or with your estate planning needs. Feel free to also explore my website and blog: www.hayleyrohnlaw.com

Ask an Ann Arbor Expert Series

This article is part of our new series, Ask an Ann Arbor Expert. In each article, we will feature advice from an Ann Arbor expert on a family friendly topic. Would you like to be featured as an Ann Arbor Expert? Contact us for more information about appearing in the column.

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