Do you have a young adult in your life? Is your teenager already looking at schools to head off to, or maybe they already have their bags packed…Yikes! But there is likely something you have not thought about, something every adult should have as they head into this world on their own. Actually, it is critical. A Power of Attorney. I know what you are probably saying… “Those are for adults.”
Guess what? Your child is an adult. And will be from this point forward forever.
Because they are an adult, the days of you being able to call up doctors, banks, cell phone companies, insurance companies, etc. are over unless you get lucky. Or unless your adult child has a power of attorney in place allowing you to do these things for them. Which you and I both know they will want you to do things for them still.
So how will a power of attorney work in this situation?
There is a brief answer to this question and an answer best illustrated through examples.
Briefly. A power of attorney, whether financial or health-related, allows you (MOM, DAD OR BOTH) to act on behalf of your child, have access to health information, and advocate for them like you have their whole life. They, as the adult, give you this “power.” A power you no longer have because they turned 18 years old. That is the law even if you think otherwise because you are their parent.
As I said, this is best illustrated by a few real-world examples that have happened to a family member and a friend. Their respective 18-year-old kids got sick and injured.
The family member whose young daughter got sick away from home needed to get a prescription filled. Mom calls up pediatrician. The same pediatrician mom has been talking to and taking daughter to for years. Pediatrician tells mom they cannot talk with mom without daughter’s permission because the daughter is 18 years old. Daughter had to get a healthcare power of attorney, so mom could get her prescription filled! True story.
The friend’s son is injured at college. College is a few hours away. Mom gets a call in the middle of the night from son’s friends. Son is in the emergency room. Doctors will not talk to mom about basic things. Mom has to make the entire drive getting fed information from whatever the friends can figure out. Scary. True story.
Are These Examples Extreme?
These examples may seem extreme and not something that can happen. So let’s look at the financial power of attorney. True stories.
Dad calls up registrar at college and wants to help son get financial aid squared away. College won’t talk to him because it’s private financial information. Forget that dad is footing the bill for college on the difference.
Mom finds out son applied for a credit card at school during first semester and then proceeded to put a few thousand dollars on it. Mom found out and after a discussion with the son, wants to cancel it. She can’t. She cannot even pay it.
About these Real-Life Examples
So let’s talk real here. These are stories when something goes wrong. But a power of attorney, both financial and health-related, can help your young adult son or daughter live their dreams. Meaning, there are so many stories we don’t hear about when something goes right.
They have dreamed of growing up for a long, long time. They worked hard (or not!) in high school to go to school, or to live life on their own, and to grow up into their dreams and keep accomplishing incredible things.
Whichever way they are headed, these two simple and straightforward documents can help them (and you) live their dreams.
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