Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives for children over 18

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Your child is eagerly awaiting high school graduation and the summer before entering college. You have your college shopping checklist full and ready to go. Or do you? As your 18 year old heads off on a life adventure, you should talk to him or her about signing a Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive.

Once your child reaches the age of majority, your parental rights are terminated and you may not be able to make health care or financial decisions on your child’s behalf. This could become problematic if your child is unable to act on his or her own behalf or, like most young people, too busy to act. In addition, it can lead to more tragic consequences in the unlikely event that your child is involved in an accident or becomes disabled. To avoid these issues, your child can execute a Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive appointing you as his or her Agent.

A Power of Attorney is a document through which an individual, called the “Principal”, grants broad authority to another individual, called the “Agent”, to transact all business on behalf of the Principal. In the event that your child executes a Power of Attorney appointing you as his or her Agent, you would be authorized to do such things such as manage his or her bank accounts and to renew his or her driver’s license or registration. Most Powers of Attorney are effective immediately and remain effective even if the Principal becomes incapacitated.

An Advance Directive is a document that serves two purposes. First, in the event that he or she became terminally ill and was unable to communicate it expresses the Principal’s wishes with regard to the implementation of life-sustaining medical procedures. Second, it is document through which the Principal authorizes an Agent to make medical decisions on the Principal’s behalf. In the event that your child executes an Advance Directive appointing you as his or her Agent, you would have access to your child’s medical records and be able to make medical decisions on his or her behalf.

So before your child enters college, start them on the path of planning for the future. For more information about how we can help don’t hesitate to call our offices at: 410-828-7775.

Frankel Sims Law

A common sense approach to complex legal issues