You always knew that your child would one day grow up and go to college here in New Jersey or maybe out of state. This year is the year that your child reaches that milestone, and you have likely already done a lot of preparation to get him or her ready to head off to the dorm. However, you may have overlooked an important preparational step.
Has your child appointed a power of attorney agent? You may feel taken aback by this question, but even if you consider your college-bound student your baby or even still a child, he or she has likely reached the age of 18. As a result, your baby is an adult in the eyes of the law, which means you no longer have automatic control over important areas of his or her life.
Why a power of attorney?
Having your child consider creating a power of attorney document could prove useful for a number of reasons. As mentioned, you no longer have the legal power to make decisions for your adult child; this means that, if he or she ends up in an accident or other situation that results in an inability to voice his or her own decisions, you cannot simply make those decisions yourself.
Though certain states do have laws that put a parent at the top of the list when it comes to people who can make medical decisions for another person when necessary, you may not have a guarantee that a medical professional will not allow another adult to act on your child’s behalf. With a power of attorney document, your child can legally name you as an agent who has the power to make medical decisions for him or her.
Is it really necessary?
Though the hope is always that your child will avoid harm, no one is immune to accidents that happen every day. If your child has not taken the legal steps to appoint you as his or her power of attorney agent, time could be wasted in the event that your child needs someone to make decisions on his or her behalf and others cannot agree on who should make those decisions.
Though your college-bound child is just a young adult, an estate plan is important for adults of any age. By having a power of attorney and other related documents in place, you and your child may both have greater peace of mind. If you believe that moving forward with this action is right, you may want to contact an experienced estate planning attorney for assistance.