What is a Parental Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that you can create to give another adult the authority to act on your behalf. In Arizona, there are multiple types of powers of attorney, which all serve a different purpose. The Parental Power of Attorney is used by parents and guardians to give another person temporary authority over their child. It is sometimes referred to as a form for Delegation of Parental Powers.

The person to whom you are giving authority should be willing to accept temporary authority over your child and is often a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. It is important that you choose someone you trust, because they will be taking action for your child on your behalf. There is no court order or transfer of custodial rights with the Parental Power of Attorney.

When Do You Need a Parental Power of Attorney?

A Parental Power of Attorney is useful when a parent or guardian becomes sick or hospitalized, travels overseas, or is otherwise unable to care for their child for a short period. The parent can either delegate all parental responsibilities or the parent can delegate specific parental responsibilities. For example, a parent could give the agent the power to enroll the child in school, grant permission for school trips, and participate in teacher conferences. Additionally, the parent could delegate the power to make healthcare decisions for the child, whether routine or emergency in nature. An attorney can ensure that the Parental Power of Attorney only gives the agent the specific responsibilities that the parent wishes to delegate.

Under Arizona law, there are restrictions on the parental responsibilities that can be delegated. The power to consent to marriage or adoption of the minor cannot be delegated in a Parental Power of Attorney.

You cannot use the Parental Power of Attorney to give another adult custody of your child. A Parental Power of Attorney is only a temporary agreement. Legal custody remains with the custodial parent. It can only be transferred through a court order.

Who Can Have A Parental Power of Attorney in Arizona?

Any parent or guardian who is over 18 years old, lives in Arizona, and is of sound mind can use a Parental Power of Attorney to delegate parental responsibility. A person is of sound mind if he or she has the mental capacity to understand what the Parental Power of Attorney is and its consequences. Furthermore, the individual cannot be acting under the undue influence of a third party. This means that if a person is forced to sign a Parental Power of Attorney, it will not be legitimate.

To be legally binding, the parent or guardian and a witness over the age of 18 must sign the completed Parental Power of Attorney in front of a notary.

How Long Is A Parental Power of Attorney in Effect?

A Parental Power of Attorney must end not more than six months after the start date identified in the document. Additionally, the parent or guardian can revoke the Parental Power of Attorney in writing at any time and for any reason. This means that even if the document states the Parental Power of Attorney is in effect for six months, the parent can take away that power at any time.

There is an exception on the time limit for military personnel who can delegate parental authority for up to one year. This exception includes active-duty members of the army, navy, air force, or marines. It also includes members of the reserves or national guard engaged in the performance of official duties.

Can a Parental Power of Attorney Travel Across State Lines?

Every state has different requirements for a Power of Attorney to be valid. You should not assume that because your Parental Power of Attorney is valid in Arizona, it will be valid in another state. You should check with an attorney that practices in that state to confirm the Parental Power of Attorney will be valid.

Speak with An Experienced Attorney

If you have questions about the Parental Power of Attorney, you should speak to an experienced local attorney. It is a helpful document that can give a parent peace of mind if they are temporarily unable to assume all parental responsibilities. Nicole Pavlik is a Phoenix estate planning attorney who can answer your concerns and draft a Parental Power of Attorney that is tailored to your needs. Contact Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at (602) 635-6176 for a free consultation.