If you were to unexpectedly pass away or become incapacitated, you would want your children living in a loving home raised by wonderful people, right? Of course you would. If you were unable to care for your children, having a guardian in place to make decisions and obtain custody of your children is a responsible way to plan for the future.
However, if you are only temporarily incapacitated, this is not the outcome to seek as you still want to retain your decision-making authority when it comes to your children, as well as full custody. For this reason, it’s important to plan for temporary incapacity. This can include military deployment, seasonal work out of state, a hospital stay, imprisonment, a long work trip, and other scenarios.
Parental Power of Attorney
In order to have your children cared for during a temporary incapacity, you need a parental power of attorney, also known as a temporary guardian. The laws surrounding this role state that a parent or guardian has the right to delegate all or part of their parental powers, such as child care, education, and health, to another parent or guardian for a period up to six months. In the case of military deployment, this is extended to 12 months when serving overseas. The temporary handing over of power does not mean the parent loses their parental rights to make decisions for their children, nor do they lose custody of their children.
In most cases, when a parent uses parental power of attorney, they do so with a specific time period in mind. If a parent leaves for seasonal work, they can create a parental power of attorney that names a friend or relative who will act as the child’s temporary guardian. In this case, as with military deployment, parents know ahead of time when they will be gone and when they are coming back.
On the other hand, sudden incapacity from an illness or accident does not give time for naming a temporary guardian. That’s why it’s important to already have one in place. Once you name a parental power of attorney, the document is valid for three years. This means that at any point in these three years you become unexpectedly, yet temporarily, incapacitated, the parental power of attorney named can step in and take care of your children.
This document can be revoked at anytime. For example, you can change the parental power of attorney at anytime and start the three years over again. You may decide to move and need to rename the individual, for example.
Once your parental power of attorney is expired, you can easily execute a new one naming the same individual or a new individual, as well as make any other necessary changes. What’s important is that you have one in place at all times. There is no way to know what the future holds and making sure your children are cared for no matter what comes your way is important for peace of mind and planning for the future.
If you haven’t heard of parental power of attorney, don’t worry. It’s something many people overlook. That’s why at Dana Law Group we make it a point to educate clients about the importance of this legal document. To learn more about temporary guardianship in Arizona, call our team today. We will answer all your questions and concerns and help you execute this important document that will keep your children safe in the time of a crisis or when you are away for work or another reason. Call us today at 1-800-381-8132 for more information.