2008-04-25 / Columnists

Spotlight On Elderlaw

Taking Care Of Grandchildren?
Commentary By Nancy J. Brady, RN, Esq. And Linda Faith Marshak, Esq.

Under a law passed in New York State in 2005, the parents of minor children can now permit another person or persons to assume specific responsibilities for their children. This limited parental "power of attorney" legalizes the common practice of parents writing short notes of permission for another to act on the parent's behalf where children are concerned. The law provides direction as to how to designate a representative, who can be named as a representative and for how long a period of time.

How to designate a representative:

There is no requirement for a formal document. The parent can simply execute a note containing certain information.

If the parent wants the designated representative to be able to act for thirty days or less, the note must include the parent's name, the designated person's name, the child's or children's name(s), and the parent's signature and date of signing.

If the parent wants a representative to continue to be in place for up to six months, in addition to the information detailed above, the note must contain the address and telephone number of the parent; the address and telephone number of the designee; the date of birth of each child; the date of commencement or event that causes the designation to be active; written consent of the representative; a statement that there is no court order in effect which would prevent the parent from designating an agent. The signatures of the parent and the designee must be notarized.

If any of these requirements are not met, the writing can still be used for thirty days if those requirements are satisfied.

Who can be designated?:

Any adult person can be named as a representative, or designee, even if the person is not a relative. What parental duties is the representative allowed?:

The representative named in a writing as detailed above is known as a "person in parental relation," and can perform many of the duties of parents, including enrolling a child in school, and responsibility for most schooling activities.

The designated representative can also consent to or refuse routine medical care, immunizations, dental work, and mental health therapy. Certain medical procedures known as major medical procedures cannot be consented to by a designee, and will continue to require consent or refusal by a parent or legal guardian.


The law limits designation of another person to a maximum of six months. The same designee can, however, be named in a subsequent writing, and there is nothing in the law to prevent a renewal immediately upon the expiration of the six months for the initial writing.

If the parent becomes incapacitated, the designation ceases to be in effect. Additionally, if there is a court order designating both parents as joint custodians, both parents must sign the designation.

Either parent can revoke the designation orally or in writing at any time, by notifying the designated representative, the school, or the medical provider.

The attorneys can be reached at 718- 945-7777.

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio