The Legal Documents Every College Student Needs to Have
One thing many folks forget in the excitement of getting kids ready for college and first jobs is that young adults need to execute a power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. When a child turns 18, the parent’s ability to make financial and healthcare decisions ends.
Health Care Power of AttorneyA Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare/Living Will empowers a person or persons of your choosing to make healthcare decisions when you cannot. Before a child turns 18, a parent can make these decisions for a child. After the child turns 18, the parent no longer has the power to act as an agent for the child unless the child has executed a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare/Living Will or is a Court-appointed Guardian.
Although this document has several *end-of-life* decision points in it, the most likely use is in much more common and semi-routine situations wherein you are temporarily unable to make your own decisions due to medication or pain.
Durable Power of AttorneyA general power of attorney is a document that empowers someone else - your Agent- to make decisions regarding your financial affairs should you become incapacitated and unable to make such decisions yourself. Just as a parent cannot make health care decisions for their child after the child turns 18, the parent no longer has the ability to make financial decisions or have access to school records once the child is an adult.
A durable power of attorney can allow a parent to have access to school records and banking records for the child. Sometimes these powers are going to be used in routine situations. Other times, it may be necessary for a parent to use these powers when a child has become temporarily incapacitated. This document is used to permit such decision making, only for the benefit of the principal (the person executing the power of attorney), without the necessity of having a probate court appoint a guardian. Guardianship is expensive and to some extent public and puts the power of appointing an agent on the court rather than allowing the adult child to choose their own agent.