You may have already moved your young adult into a dorm and checked off all the “dorm checklist” items. Tuition payments have been calculated and possibly even paid. This may be a joyous time for you, or you may have tear-filled moments. You hope they are ready to be out on their own and that you have done everything possible to set them up to succeed in the year(s) ahead. However, there’s one checklist item you may not have thought about, because it doesn’t show up on the forms provided by the college. Your young adult needs a Power of Attorney (“POA”).
Why do you need a POA for your college-age student?
Many parents assume that they automatically have authority to handle decisions for their young adult children should they encounter an unexpected illness or accident that leaves them incapacitated. Although parents may be helping pay tuition, covering their student under their health insurance, and even still claiming them as dependents on their tax return, without a POA in place, a parent may be helpless to help their young adult child with financial or medical matters. Once a child turns 18, parents no longer have authority to make any medical or financial decisions for their children. A POA authorizes parents to help their adult children manage financial, legal, and healthcare decisions as needed.
Without a POA in place, if your child suffers an accident or gets into debt while away at school, you won’t be able to communicate with banks, doctors, or insurance companies on their behalf. Read on to see why your young adult needs a POA and what types will be most beneficial for you and your family.
Money management may be a new skill your young adult faces when leaving home for the first time. Colleges will not give you access to important information like financial aid, student loan details, tuition bills, and grades. But with a POA, parents can help manage their young adult’s financial matters. And even though your young adult may not have much income or financial assets, a Financial POA provides access to their bank account, allows you to sign checks on their behalf, and allows you to sign tax return paperwork.
If your young adult becomes ill or suffers an accident and is admitted to a hospital, the medical facility may not release medical information about the student because HIPAA protects patient information. A Medical POA names an agent that can make decisions about medical care when the patient cannot do so on their own. In addition to having access to records, the agent can also make treatment decisions.
It’s not too late to get your college-aged adult’s Power of Attorney in place. Call to make an appointment with us today.