Does your 18 year old need a power of attorney?

In the eyes of the law, your children are adults as soon as they turn 18 years of age. However, the reality is that young adults often continue to need support from parents or guardians as they learn how to navigate the new world of adulthood. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy laws can prevent parents and guardians from being involved. This is where a durable power of attorney becomes useful.

A durable power of attorney is an estate planning document in which the principal grants authority to the agent of his/her/their choice to make decisions on behalf of the principal. The principal is not relinquishing any authority by granting an agent power. Rather, the principal is allowing the agent to assist where needed. Furthermore, the principal can specify the scope of authority granted to the agent.

Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney (DHCPOA). Young adults should prepare a DHCPOA, so parents or guardians can make emergency medical decisions in the event the young adult is unable to do so. In addition, young adults often rely on parents or guardians to help with scheduling doctors appointments, transferring files to new healthcare providers and many other routine medical tasks. By preparing a DHCPOA, young adults are granting authority to their parents or guardians to continue to help them.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney (DFPOA). For young adults who are financially dependent on their parents or guardians, a DFPOA is a great idea. This is especially true if parents or guardians are helping their young adults with school tuition or any other investments. With a DFPOA, parents and/or guardians are able to help manage student loans, payments, accounts, and other financial matters. This can be beneficial for both parties since young adults are building their credit and often need their parents and/or guardians to co-sign.

In conclusion, young adults still need training wheels to help through the unsteady path into adulthood. However, medical, financial, and educational institutions will limit parental involvement with out a durable power of attorney in place.

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Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By accessing this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Sekhon Law, PLLC. This post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.