The summer between high school and college is one of the most exciting for young adults in Nashville, Franklin, and Brentwood. However, it also comes with a lot of uncertainty for us parents. Although you can no longer legally track your child or set a curfew, there are still ways that you can be involved in their life when they need you the most. Talk to your son or daughter about becoming their power of attorney. There are two different designations of this legal status: medical and durable.
Medical Power Of Attorney
A medical power of attorney (sometimes called health care power of attorney) appoints you as your child’s “medical agent.” This designation allows you to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated and unable to do so on their own. For example, your 19-year-old son is injured in a vehicle accident and is unconscious at a local hospital. Without a healthcare power of attorney, medical decisions are made by a court-appointed guardian, and you may not be consulted about the next steps. His medical team can do only what this guardian requests, and you are legally prohibited from viewing their medical records or asking for specific treatments or therapies. With a power of attorney in place, doctors can discuss your child’s condition with you and you can then make decisions that you believe are in your child’s best interest.
Although you should only have one primary medical agent, it can be helpful to have a secondary and tertiary that can take the lead if the primary is unavailable.
General Durable Power Of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a broader term that allows you to access and control your child’s finances and legal decisions if they are unable. You could apply for government benefits, sign a lease, pay bills, open or close bank accounts, and handle other important financial and/or legal matters for your young adult child. A durable power of attorney is crucial to have alongside a medical power of attorney so that you can make both medical and financial decisions, the latter of which may help reduce the chances of your child experiencing credit issues down the road if they’re incapacitated and unable to physically pay their bills.
No matter which type of document you choose, make sure that you use an attorney that’s experienced in these matters. You and your adult child should also reevaluate and sign these documents every one to two years. Importantly, if your child is attending school out of state, you will need both legal documents written in a way that they conform to each state’s laws. Finally, make sure that you and your adult child keep current copies of these in a safe place at all times should you ever need to use them.
If you need estate planning help and live in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Spring Hill, or the surrounding Middle Tennessee areas, contact The Law Offices Of Trent Linville today.