Getting ready to head out of town without the kids for vacation, for business, military deployment or otherwise? You’ve got your bags packed, plane tickets in hand and you’ve made arrangements for your kids to stay with grandma and grandpa. Pleased that all is well in hand, you suddenly realize while at 30,000 feet and thousands of miles from home that you forgot to sign the permission slip for your son’s field trip, and your daughter has a doctor’s appointment while you are gone for which a medical decision may need to be made by you, as her parent.
What can parents do to address situations like this, and tackle circumstances when parental decisions must be made while you are out of town, potentially without regular contact with home? Under Michigan law (Michigan Compiled Laws § 700.5103), parents and legal guardians of minor children can delegate their parental or guardianship responsibilities to another person for a period not to exceed 6 months. That delegation can include any of your parental or guardianship powers, including regarding your child’s care, custody or property, excluding the power to consent to the minor child’s marriage or adoption.
Parents or guardians who are serving in the U.S. armed forces deployed to a foreign nation may provide in their delegation that the delegated powers continue beyond 6 months, lasting instead until the 31st day after the end of the parent or guardian’s deployment. Legal guardians who delegate their authority pursuant to this statutory provision must notify the probate court which has jurisdiction over the guardianship within 7 days after execution of the delegation and must provide the court with the name, address and telephone number of the individual(s) to whom such powers were delegated.
Parents, if you will be unavailable to exercise your parental authority for any reason and have left your children in the care and custody of a non-parent, consider executing a delegation of authority so that those with whom you’ve trusted your children have the legal authority to sign those field trip permission slips and make decisions in the event of unexpected visits to the doctor’s office or emergency room.
Kreis Enderle’s estate planning attorneys can assist you with the preparation of such delegations of authority and the granting of powers on terms with which you are comfortable.