Powers of Attorney are important documents that you should have your children over 18 prepare and sign before leaving for college, trade school or the military. Why should they have Powers of Attorney at 18? So that, you, as their parents, would be able to handle medical and financial matters for them if they were injured, ill or incapacitated. Powers of Attorney allow parents to take care of their adult children if the need arises.
Technically, anyone over the age of 18 is an adult. If your adult child needs medical care, you, as a parent, may find your options limited as to obtaining medical information or as to making decisions about care without Powers of Attorney. You, as a parent, would have no right to access your adult children’s financial accounts to pay their bills or to check on their credit cards if they were having credit problems.
Powers of Attorney are legal documents that can be prepared by elder law attorney in which the Principal gives authority to an Agent to do activities for the Principal. The powers given can involve healthcare matters – making medical decisions, obtaining medical records, hiring or firing caregivers, etc. – or involve financial matters – making deposits, writing checks, selling liquid assets, etc. It is important for the Principal to choose someone trustworthy, such as parents or maybe siblings, uncles or aunts. Contingent or back-up Agents should also be named in case the primary Agents are unable to serve.
Take your children at 18 (or older) to an elder law attorney to have Powers of Attorney prepared, so that you can handle any crisis that may occur, whether your adult children are in college, trade school or the military.