Many of us are aware of the importance of having a power of attorney, but have you thought of your young adult child needing one too? Most parents think they have automatic authority to make medical or financial decisions for their adult children, however, once their child turns 18, they no longer do. Should an unexpected emergency arise, a young adult power of attorney is a legal document that can be very important for every young person to have when they turn 18 years old. For example, if your adult child becomes unexpectedly ill, becomes incapacitated, or is faced with financial struggles, their power of attorney would come into play and without one, parents would be unable to help their child.
As a power of attorney, here are the important decisions you’ll be able to make if your young adult child is unable to.
Once your child becomes a legal adult, they are protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which protects their private information. They must choose who can access their medical records and will designate that person(s) on a HIPAA form at a medical office. Most young adults will designate their parents as the authorized recipients and with the parents listed on a child’s HIPAA form, they are able to have to access to their medical records and information, as needed.
Similarly, to your adult child designating you to access their medical records, it’s also important that they grant you as their health care power of attorney. With this in place, your child is able to name you as someone to act on their behalf should they become unable to do so. As a minor, parents automatically had the authority to make medical decisions for their child, but now that their child is an adult, they must formally grant them this authority and advise them of their healthcare wishes. While the conversation may be uncomfortable, it’s important to ask your child, do they want certain procedures avoided? Have them consider end of life measures – do they want their organs donated if they pass away? With a health care power of attorney, they can be assured that their parent will make the right health care decisions as they would, if they were able to.
A financial power of attorney may also be helpful to your adult child. Up until the age of 18, parents as legal guardians could sign documents on their child’s behalf, make bank withdrawals and even pay bills for them. However, as an adult, parents can no longer act on their child’s behalf. When you have your child grant you authority as their financial power of attorney. You can step in when needed regarding your child’s financial matters. Did they forget to pay their rent before going on vacation? You as their parent and financial power of attorney can make that payment for them.
After your child has created and signed the power of attorney forms, it’s best to keep the originals in a safe place with other important documents. The benefits of your child having a power of attorney are endless. With these critical forms in place, it will give you and your child peace of mind with a valid and executed power of attorney. To get started, speak with one of our knowledgeable Financial Advisors. They are here to answer questions and help ensure these important documents are tailored to best meet the needs of your young adult.
Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.