The back-to-school season is in full swing. By this time, you’ve probably already checked off all the items on your list from a new computer to books on top of books. But if you have a college-bound child or children, then there’s likely at least two things that might not have made it on your list; that is, a financial and healthcare power of attorney.
A financial power of attorney allows someone (called an agent) to make financial decisions on behalf of another (the principal). Let’s say that your college-bound child overdraws his or her bank account. You get a call: “Mom, I overdrew my bank account. Can you go down there and work that out for me?” Without a financial power of attorney, your son or daughter’s bank will not be able to deal with you directly regarding matters that affect his or her account. (This actually happened to me in college!) Obviously this document is even more critical if your son or daughter is attending college in a different city or state and thus unable to make the trip home should a financial or legal matter arise.
Similarly, a healthcare or medical power of attorney, sometimes called healthcare proxy or surrogate, allows one person (the agent or proxy) to make health related decisions on another’s behalf if that person is unable to do so his or herself. Of course, as parents, the last thing you want to think about is something happening to your child that makes him or her unable to make medical or financial decisions. What would be worse, however, is if your son or daughter were seriously injured and the hospital staff was unable to even give you updates on his or her status. Without a healthcare power of attorney, Federal HIPAA laws might bar the medical personnel from sharing any of that information with you assuming your child is at least 18. For this and other reasons, many colleges recommend that parents have this document in place when their children head off to college.
Fortunately, securing these documents has never been easier. With NetLaw, you can create them for your adult age children in a matter of minutes. Your documents will come with execution instructions that provide everything you’ll need to know to make them valid. And while you’re at it, you can create or update your own core estate planning documents, including a Last Will and Testament.