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Powers of Attorney for your “Independent” College Student

As parents, we often think of our children as our dependents, but as they grow up and head off to college, they become independent adults. While it's important to trust our children and give them autonomy, it's equally important to ensure they have the necessary legal documents in place to protect them in case of an emergency.

Two essential documents that college-aged children should have are Powers of Attorney for health care and finances. These legal documents allow an individual, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, to make important decisions on their behalf should they become unable to do so themselves.

Here's why having Powers of Attorney is crucial for college-aged children:

1. Health Care Powers of Attorney:

  • In the event of an accident or serious illness, your child may become incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes for medical treatment. A Health Care Power of Attorney authorizes someone to make medical decisions on your child's behalf, ensuring that their wishes are respected and that they receive the necessary medical treatment.

2. Financial Powers of Attorney:

  • A Financial Power of Attorney allows someone to manage your child's finances, pay bills, and handle other financial matters on their behalf if they are unable to do so. This is especially important if your child is studying abroad or living away from home and needs someone to manage their finances for them.

    Without these documents, parents may face difficulty making medical or financial decisions for their children, even if they are still financially dependent on them. Additionally, in the absence of Powers of Attorney, a court-appointed guardian may have to make decisions on your child's behalf, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.

    In summary, Powers of Attorney are important legal documents that ensure your college-aged child's wishes are respected and that they are protected in case of an emergency. If you have a college-aged child, it's crucial to discuss these documents with them and help them understand the importance of having them in place.