10 Jul 2010 Protect Your Parental Rights With Family Planning Documents
Intended parents forming a family through surrogacy face many medical, legal, and family law issues that go beyond the basic surrogacy agreement and the initial family formation, such as:
- Who will act as the legal guardian of your child(ren) in the event you are unable to act due to death, or temporary or permanent disability, prior to the time a parental order is obtained?
- Who is authorized to make medical decisions with respect to your child(ren) in the event of your disability or death?
- Who is authorized to make vital medical decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself?
- Who is authorized to make decisions with respect to your other legal and financial matters in the event you become temporarily or permanently disabled, including decisions relevant to the surrogacy and birth process?
Family Planning Documents are drafted to clarify your intentions as to who has authority to make these important decisions regarding your and your child(ren)’s health, medical care, and guardianship in the event of your death or incapacity.
Recognizing that our clients find themselves in multiple states both during the course of, and subsequent to, their family creation process IFLG’s Family Planning Documents cover these family-medical-legal issues in a multi-jurisdictional manner drafted with the intent that they be effective in as many states as possible.
These documents include:
Guardianship Designation, Power of Attorney and Consent Signed by Your Surrogate
Your Surrogacy Agreement is an important legal document; however, its main purpose is to document your arrangement with the surrogate and the parties’ intentions. And while your parental rights are established with a court judgment, even if it is a pre-birth order it does not become effective until the birth of your child(ren). A Surrogate Guardianship Designation will help to protect your parental rights before and after the birth of your child(ren), providing you with authority to make medical and other decisions regarding your child(ren) until the court orders of parentage become effective. Therefore, we strongly recommend protecting your parental rights through this formal guardianship document; and it is ideally executed at about the same time as your surrogacy contract.
Your Formal Guardianship Designation
Many parents often consider who will be responsible for taking care of their child(ren) if they were to die or become incapacitated. Unfortunately, many parents do not find the time to ensure that this decision is made legally binding. Nomination of Guardian and Nomination of Standby Guardian documents officially name your choice of alternate/backup guardian(s) of the child(ren), while in utero and once born, in the event that you are unable to be there to care for your child(ren). These documents are accompanied by stand-alone consent forms authorizing another intended parent or a third person to consent to medical treatment for the child(ren). This group of documents is particularly important for families where only one intended parent will be listed on the birth certificate.
Advance Healthcare Directives/Proxies
Advanced healthcare directives establish your rights to have a particular person make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself.
General Durable Powers of Attorney
Power of Attorney documents establish the right of your designated person to administer your assets and make legal and financial decisions on your behalf (including with respect to the surrogacy) in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.
Your Family Planning Documents can also:
- Supplement your will or living trust and insure that appropriate legal appointments and expressions of intent are in place prior to the execution of a will or living trust (which are more complex and often require substantial time to develop in conjunction with an overall estate plan);
- Save you time and money, since many of the Family Planning Documents would ordinarily be part of the suite of documents that you would prepare in connection with a will or living trust.
IFLG’s Family Planning Documents are applicable to all Intended Parents, whether single, married, or in a domestic partnership or civil union.
For more information, please contact IFLG and ask for attorney Rich Vaughn, or email him at Rich@IFLG.net.
INTERNATIONAL FERTILITY LAW GROUP INC.
5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645
Los Angeles, CA 90036
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