I’m sending my children away this summer – one to overnight camp for the first time and the other for an extended stay with her grandparents thousands of miles away. For me, it will mean (albeit temporarily) a return to a kid-free lifestyle – a busy parent’s “dream come true”. I can’t deny my excitement, but I also find myself worried. What if something were to happen to them while they are away – a medical emergency, for instance? Who will make the medical decisions for them? Could delays in medical decisionmaking have bad consequences?
To ease my worries, at least in part, I’m sending my daughter to her grandparents’ house with a legal document in hand that authorizes them to make medical decisions for her. The document is an Appointment of Temporary Agent for the Care of a Minor. In the Appointment, my husband and I will authorize her grandparents to make medical decisions in an emergency. This may include taking her to an emergency room or authorizing needed diagnostic or surgical procedures. In addition, it will authorize them to take her to a pediatrician or urgent care center for more routine care to treat minor illnesses, such as an ear or respiratory infection.
To be effective under Massachusetts law, the Appointment must be signed by both my husband and me. It must state that we temporarily delegate to the grandparents our parental powers, including the authority to consent to medical treatment. It must be signed by them and witnessed by two adults. It may remain effective for up to sixty days.
If you too are sending your kids away this summer or in the future, be a responsible parent and consider executing an Appointment of Temporary Agent for the Care of a Minor.