As my wife and I were boarding an airplane for a recent trip, I wondered, as I do every time we
travel without our five daughters, “are the kids going to be OK without their mom?” (I try to be
realistic and realize that they’d be just fine without me.) What if they fall off the trampoline
and need to go to the hospital? What if one of them forgot to have us sign their permission slip
for a school field trip before we left? What if, even worse, they needed someone to be able to
consent to emergency medical treatment?
Quite frequently, clients come into the office to review or update their estate plans because
they are going on a trip and they want to make sure everything is in order, just in case they
don’t come back. But, when parents travel without their minor children, they shouldn’t only
wonder about the worst-case scenario of not returning home to their kids; they should also
have a plan in place to make sure that the kids will be well cared for while they’re gone.
Sure, grandma and grandpa or the babysitter will make sure that the kids are fed and get to
school and piano lessons and soccer practice on time. But what if the kids have a need that
requires consent or authorization by a legal guardian while mom and dad are gone?
Under Arizona law, a parent of a minor child may temporarily delegate their parental rights for
a period up to six months in length. They can delegate things related to the physical and
medical care of their child and where the child will live. While it may be rare for a parent to
need to delegate those responsibilities for a six-month period, it is a good practice for parents
to designate temporary guardians for the kids if they won’t be available for a short period. If
mom and dad are out of the country on a trip, a temporary guardian would be very convenient
if the babysitter needs to check a child out of school for a dentist appointment. It would be
nice to have legal authority to allow the babysitter to pick up a prescription refill when
medications run out unexpectedly. If a child gets in trouble while mom and dad are away, a
temporary guardian could interact with the school administration, or even law enforcement, as
the kid waits for his real punishment that will come when his parents return. There are many
reasons why a babysitter would want written evidence of a parent’s granting to them
At Dana Whiting Law, we can help you determine the type of temporary powers you want to
grant to your babysitter and we can help prepare the legal documents that will give the
babysitter that responsibility. Please contact us before your next trip to get the forms so that
you can enjoy your vacation and have some peace of mind that, even if your child “needs” mom
or dad while you are away, someone will be around that can effectively help them out.