August 1, 2018 by Kristine Porcaro, President & Co-Founder
If you’re about to send a child off to college or off to work in the real world. The most important thing you should do is: Ask this young adult to sign a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy. Two simple documents. We can help you get this done asap for as little as $350. A small price to pay for the security of being able to act quickly if needed.
Though not often thought about these two estate planning documents are essential for younger people too. Without them, in most states parents don’t have the authority to make health care decisions or manage money for their kids once they turn 18—even if they are paying the tuition, still have those kids on their health insurance plans and claim them as dependents on their tax returns. That means if a young adult is in an accident and becomes disabled, even temporarily, a parent might need court approval to act on his or her behalf. In case of an emergency, having a power of attorney makes it easier to act fast. For example, contact a local embassy if they are traveling abroad or wire money from a child’s bank account, for example. It could also come in handy if a parent needs to sign a legal document, such as a lease, in the child’s absence.
The risk is real. Accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults, and a quarter-million Americans between 18 and 25 are hospitalized with nonlethal injuries each year. Imagine not being able to find out what’s going on with your child or being able to help make decisions for them.
But it doesn’t take something nearly that drastic for parents to need to act on a child’s behalf. A friend realized that two years ago, when her daughter, then 19 was a sophomore in Vermont. A car accident brought her to the hospital and they called the mom and only said there has been an accident your daughter is in surgery. After racing up there, after waiting hours in the waiting room and only until the daughter was conscious and could give permission could they let the mom know what was going on. A helpless feeling I’m sure and not how any parent wants to feel.