Is a Power of Attorney on your College Checklist?

After a grueling year where much of normal life ceased or changed dramatically, parents and graduating high school seniors have something huge to celebrate – finishing high school and moving on to the next phase of life.

For many young adults, this will mean attending college, potentially in another state or at a school hundreds of miles or more away from home.

Adulthood is More Than a Rite of Passage

Graduating high school has long been viewed as a rite of passage into adulthood. Less often, do people view turning 18 with the same significance. Yet, many important legal changes occur when a young person becomes an adult in the eyes of the law:

  • Parents no longer have the right to make medical decisions for their child
  • Parents are not authorized to help adult children manage financial issues
  • Banks and insurance companies will no longer communicate with parents about a child’s account or health condition

We all assume that because we’re married or a parent, we have automatic authority to handle decisions for our loved ones. Once a child turns 18, parents no longer have the right to make medical or financial decisions for them.

Why You Need a Young Adult Power of Attorney Form

Absent a power of attorney form and healthcare power of attorney form, parents are not authorized to help adult children manage their financial, legal or healthcare decisions. By age 18, HIPAA privacy laws pull the curtain fully closed and doctors, banks and insurance companies will no longer communicate with a parent about a child’s account or health condition.

Specific laws vary, so the situation can become more convoluted when a child attends college out of state. The most common reasons a parent may need to help an adult child make medical or financial decisions are maturity and incapacity.

Even as they embark on the next phase of their lives, and the first phase of adulthood, many young people aren’t ready at age 18 to take on all the responsibilities of adulthood. Events rise that are beyond their experience to handle. College students may inadvertently land themselves in credit card debt and need help from parents to make the financial moves necessary to climb out.

Accidents Happen

Sadly, accidents can happen at any time that cause an adult child to become incapacitated. Someone who normally makes wise, level-headed decisions may become impaired temporarily by an illness or accident and need assistance making medical and financial decisions.

Every adult should have a durable power of attorney for health care and the same for financial decisions because these forms designate who is authorized to handle medical and financial decisions in an emergency.

Without these forms, a state may appoint a guardian or conservator for you. Not only can it not be the parent, but the process can be complex and expensive. Power of attorney forms eliminate this concern.

Common Questions People Ask About Young Adult Power of Attorney Forms

We receive many questions online and through our website about power of attorney forms and have addressed them extensively in our articles. Here are popular answers to common questions people ask about young adult POA forms:

Where do I get power of attorney forms?

Once you see the need for a power of attorney form, the next logical question is where to find one. Many wonder if free POA templates online are appropriate.

While some sites do offer these forms for free, they differ in quality from one site to the next. Beyond samples offered on state websites, most online free forms vary in quality and usability, or aren’t truly free. Many claim to carry no cost, but charge a fee to download the documents or require a subscription. Additionally, it can be difficult to find the right form and fill it out correctly.

Mama Bear Legal Forms offers affordable power of attorney (POA) templates and healthcare POA forms you can customize for your children and state(s) of residence. Our Young Adult Power of Attorney Package includes all three documents your college child needs for only $49 – a significantly lower price than the average attorney fee for preparing such documents.

Can’t I get a POA form at my doctor’s office?

This is a great question. You have probably filled out many HIPAA forms at various doctors’ offices. Those forms usually provide release of health information for that office or hospital system only. They provide parents no rights to a child’s personal health information anywhere else.

Additionally, they provide no help if a child becomes incapacitated and cannot sign a HIPAA release at the time they need care. Both a healthcare power of attorney form and universal HIPAA release should be prepared ahead of time.

Cross This Item Off Your College Checklist

Ready to get your Young Adult POA Package? Mama Bear Legal Forms provides law firm quality, state-specific documents that are easy to create, simple to download and incredibly affordable.

All three of the forms we offer in our Young Adult Package are legally valid in all states and include guidance on how to complete them. 

It only takes ten minutes to create the three documents your graduating student needs to have everything secured before they head off to college or take that next step in life. Get yours now.

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