College is a very exciting time for both students and their parents. It is a time when many young adults typically have their first opportunity to exercise independence while living away from home. What many parents may not realize is that if their student has reached age 18, he or she is an adult and parents no longer automatically have the power to make decisions for their children - even in the case of emergency.
That means that without a financial power of attorney, parents might need court approval to access financial information, pay bills, and act on their child's behalf if he or she becomes incapacitated or is traveling abroad. Without a health care directive, parents may not have input over medical decisions for the child. By having the young adult put these documents in place before heading off for college, parents can be assured that they will have the power to step in and make the necessary legal, financial, and health care decisions in the event it is ever needed.
Establishing these documents is a fairly simple and straight-forward process. For both documents, the student names a person or persons to act as the attorney-in-fact and health care agent. The power of attorney form lists the powers that are granted to the person. This can include only a few powers or be very broad to cover banking, real estate, paying bills, and the like. The health care directive can also cover items such as organ donation, thoughts on specific medical procedures, end of life, and funeral arrangements.
The attorneys at Ward & Oehler can help you effectively and efficiently check these two documents off the back to school list so you can be sure your children are protected even when they are not at home.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, call (507) 288-5567 or send us an email using our contact form.
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