When you think about a Power of Attorney, the first thing that comes to mind is an elderly parent or family member who is incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions in legal or medical matters. In most cases, we do not consider our college-aged children when we think of Power of Attorney. However, it is wise to appoint a durable Power of Attorney for your child before they leave home for college. This also applies in the event your child travels overseas or moves away from home once they have reached legal age.
Imagine this: your child is away at college, perhaps in another state. You receive a late-night phone call saying that they have become ill or have been in a serious accident and are unresponsive. If you have not appointed a durable Power of Attorney, you will not be able to receive any information, due to HIPPA rules and regulations, about the condition of your legally aged child over 18 years.
However, if you have taken the time to draft a proper durable Power of Attorney, which appoints you as their legal agent, you will be able to receive information and make any necessary medical decisions on their behalf. This could mean the difference between life or death in some situations. Proper planning on your end can literally save the life of your legally aged child.
You should establish a Healthcare derivative on their behalf, particularly if your child has any ongoing or pre-existing medical conditions. It is critical that their needs for medication or treatments are met if for any reason they are unable to communicate this information to a medical professional. You and your child should sit down together and discuss the need for determining a Power of Attorney. Then you should meet with your lawyer to finalize the matter, making sure that all of the necessary documentation is in place.
What Should a Power of Attorney Cover for?
Your College Age Children
As mentioned above, it is crucial to have a durable Power of Attorney should your child suffer from a serious accident or injury while away at college. You would then have the ability to make medical decisions on their behalf. This also applies to sudden illnesses. Also, if your child has an existing medical issue or disability, you will be able to remain actively involved in their medical care.
2. Legal Matters
Should your child be involved in a legal matter while away at school and is unable to make it home for any meetings or court dates, a durable Power of Attorney will allow you to speak on their behalf.
3. Financial Matters
If there are any business or financial matters that involve your child, you will be able to make decisions for them and speak on their behalf should they not be able to do so. This also gives you the authority to pay any bills that are in their name while they are away. Additionally, it will give you the ability to withdraw money from their bank account for any emergencies as well as wire money between yours and their accounts.
We have years of experience with durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare derivatives. We will advise you as to what needs to be done before your child leaves the nest. As soon as your child turns 18, please contact us to take care of any legal documentation required to set up a durable Power of Attorney.