With everyone heading back to campus, it is important to discuss an important piece of estate planning with your young adult. While typically Power of Attorney documents are thought to be primarily for more established adults, anyone over the age of 18 should have them in place. Consider talking to your new (or returning) college student about putting Power of Attorney documents into place to give you (and them) some peace of mind while they are away.

What is a power of attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document that grants someone the authority to make decisions on someone else’s behalf should they not be able to make their own decisions. There are two types of power of attorney documents. There is the Durable Power of Attorney and the Health Care Power of Attorney.  The Durable Power of Attorney is for financial actions and the Health Care Power of Attorney is for medical actions. These documents become “activated” when someone becomes incapacitated or is unable to make their own decisions.  Having properly executed Powers of Attorney in place negates the need for a guardian to be appointed to manage your child’s financial and healthcare matters, which requires court proceedings.

Why should a college student have one?

There are several reasons why it is important to have these documents in place for your college students (or any children that you have over the age of 18). If your child were to get into any kind of accident or become incapacitated in any way, you would not be able to make medical decisions or know details of what is occurring with their health. Financially, you would also not be able to access their banking accounts. Once your child is 18, you no longer have access to these things.  Having a Power of Attorney in place would grant you the ability to make decisions on behalf of your child, medically or financially, should they ever become incapacitated. If something tragic did happen, the last thing you would want is to have to obtain a guardianship in court, which would be costly and time consuming.

If you have any questions or are interested in getting these documents put in place, we would love to assist you. Please call our office to set up a consultation.