2 Documents to Prepare When Your Children Leave for College

By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions

If your child is heading off to college, you probably have a lot of items left on your checklist to complete before move in day arrives. But, of you haven’t thought about planning for potential problems for your children, you are leaving two important items off of your list that you probably didn’t even know you needed: (1) a financial durable power of attorney and (2) a medical durable power of attorney.

Powers of attorney allow you to act on behalf of someone else. They can be immediate, or only go into effect if something happens where the person signing the Durable Power of Attorney can’t make decisions for his or herself (springing). Once your child is over the age of 18, and legally an adult, you cannot make any decisions on his or her behalf without these documents.

What Causes a Springing Durable Power of Attorney to Go Into Effect?

Springing powers of attorney only come into effect in emergency situations where your child cannot make decisions on their own. Neither the financial or medical powers allows you unlimited access or access whenever wanted.

For information in non-emergency situations, you will have to communicate with your child. Before they leave for college, having a conversation about boundaries and communicating needed information can help with the day-to-day updates on how they are doing academically, financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

While the hope is that you will never have to use a springing Durable Power of Attorney, it is better to have the documents ready and the option available in the case an emergency strikes and you need to make decisions quickly for you child.

Kinds of Powers of Attorney

(1) Medical Power of Attorney

Now that your child is 18, there are limitations on the personal information you can access of theirs without their permission, even though you are the parent. If there was an accident or other emergency involving your child, medical staff may not be able to work with you on choosing a course of treatment for your child without presenting a Medical Power of Attorney (or an Advance Health Care Directive).

This is particularly important if your child is going to college out-of-state and you will not be able to reach them quickly were something to happen.

(2) Financial Power of Attorney

Your child turning 18 also affects the information schools are able to give to you as the parents. Without Financial Power of Attorney in place, you will be unable to access your child’s education records, information regarding their education, or communicate with the school on their behalf. This can especially become an issue if your child chooses to study abroad.

How Do I Get A Durable Power of Attorney?

The easiest and best way to make sure you have both powers of attorney in place is to meet with a licensed attorney experienced in estate planning. Communicate with your child what these documents are and why it is important for them to be in place and then have the attorney explain what they are filling out so that everyone is on the same page.

Call us today if you need help getting something in place for your (legally) adult child!

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