Most parents are used to taking care of their children’s needs, but have you considered the fact that this can become much more difficult when children attend college? Not only do college students assume greater freedoms, but turning age 18 legally makes them adults. This newfound independence can be a big part of the college experience. Without certain health care estate planning documents in place, however, young-adult students could be left to fend for themselves in an emergency.
A general durable power of attorney can provide major protection. If a student is injured in an accident or falls ill and is hospitalized while away at school, the document could grant parents the legal authority to come in and make financial and legal decisions on behalf of their adult child. Without it, any number of adverse complications could occur.
General durable powers of attorney may be especially important given the COVID-19 crisis. The virus has been surging among young people and college campuses are expected to be flooded with students in the fall. Masks and social distancing rules may not be enough to protect your child, so being prepared may be imperative.
Powers of attorney can be general or specific. A general power of attorney authorizes a person’s “agent” to make wide ranging financial and legal decisions, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills, filing taxes, breaking a lease and applying for government help. Adding a durability feature makes the general power of attorney effective if the young-adult student were incapacitated or unable to make competent decisions. A specific power of attorney limits the scope of the agent’s power. For example, a limited power of attorney could apply to a used car dealer who is registering a new vehicle in your name.
A general durability power of attorney can be an excellent first line of defense against COVID-19 and other emergencies. It can also provide parents the ability to make routine financial and legal decisions. Contact our office for help navigating important estate documents for your college-bound child.