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Why Your College Kid Needs a POA

November 12, 2021 by in Estate Planning

Your child  graduating from high school and turning 18 is an important and emotional milestone. While they have newfound independence, it is also a critical legal event. They’re now real adults with the right to make their own decisions. As a parent of an adult child, your parental rights usually disappear when your child turns 18.

Your Parental Rights Can Fade Away at 18

Starting at 18, federal and state law automatically limit your access to your child’s medical records and to make healthcare and financial decisions for them (HHS). So, if your adult child becomes incapacitated and doesn’t have the correct legal documents in place, you can’t make medical or money decisions for them.  But there’s an easy solution – financial and health care powers of attorney.

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

With a health care power of attorney, your 18 and older child can choose you to make health decisions for them if they can’t because of an emergency. Most medical providers will not discuss your child’s treatment with you without a health care power of attorney on file, even if they’re on your health insurance.

Why Does My Adult Child Need a Durable Power of Attorney?

Your child could designate you to make financial decisions for them, including paying their bills if they become incapacitated and are unable. With a durable power of attorney, your adult child can give you temporary authority to handle their banking, bill payments and speak with important people such as a landlord. It can give you both peace of mind.

How Can a Living Will Help Me and My Adult Child?

If your child ever faces a life-threatening medical situation a signed living will is important. With a living will, your adult child can tell you what lifesaving measures they want if they are in coma, have a terminal illness or other life-threatening event.

What Happens If My 18-Year-Old Doesn’t Have a Power of Attorney?

If your adult child becomes unable to do for themselves and does not have a power of attorney naming you or someone else as their agent, then a guardianship may be necessary. A guardianship is an expensive and time-consuming court proceeding where a stranger is appointed to make healthcare and financial decisions for an incapacitated person. This can be avoided with powers of attorney. 

Working With Us

If your child is 18 or older, act now to protect their health and finances with the right legal powers of attorney.

For more information about estate planning documents for your college-age child in Brevard County, please contact our trusted, experienced attorneys at Lacey Lyons today to schedule your consultation.

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