Many people are aware of the need for and benefits of a Power of Attorney for their parents or grandparents. For example, a Power of Attorney would allow them to assist their parents with health and financial decisions, as well as other critical matters. Few people are aware of the need as well for a Power of Attorney for their children who became emancipated by reaching the age of 18. Parents often do not realize that they lose significant rights upon their child reaching the age of 18. In particular, parents of college age students are typically not aware of the fact that should a financial, medical, academic or personal issue arise pertaining to their child, they may not be able to access medical or financial information, speak to the college / university or its hospital and are essentially shut out from learning more and dealing with situations that may arise. Too often parents find out when a medical emergency arises with their child that they cannot be privy to any information due to US privacy acts.
As you can see it is important to obtain a Power of Attorney from your child, so if a medical or other emergencies were to occur, the parent can be involved and be part of the process. In addition, should a financial issue arise, such as at a bank or credit union, or pertaining to credit cards, insurance, or loans, the parent can be part of the process. There may also be a need to deal with the child’s Landlord at college and the Power of Attorney would allow this. Furthermore, with many students traveling and studying abroad, the Power of Attorney takes on more significance. There are numerous day-to-day affairs and matters as well, in which parents wish to assist, but may find out they do not have the legal ability to do so without a Power of Attorney.
Our Firm has never put an age minimum on Powers of Attorney and has encouraged all clients to enter into a Power of Attorney. We typically suggest a Durable Power of Attorney, which continues to be operative even if the person becomes disabled or incapacitated. We also suggest that an alternate and second alternate be chosen so that the person giving the Power of Attorney will always have someone down the road to be their agent or attorney in fact, should the initial person chosen no longer be able to serve.
Our Firm has also created a joint Power of Attorney so, for instance, both parents can make decisions for their child, rather than the typical/traditional power of attorney, which names only one person as attorney in fact, and then a backup. There are also instances where the one person Power of Attorney is best.
Upon request, our firm can provide additional information on Powers of Attorney, and assist in counseling and drafting. As you can see, age does not matter; everyone needs a Power of Attorney.