By Mike Jones, BPJ Associate
Taking kids to college is emotional enough, but there’s one more thing to add to your to-do list before dorm drop-off: Set up financial and health care powers of attorney.
With the advent of growing privacy concerns, a parent may run into roadblocks with attempting to help a child over the age of 18 with tuition, rent or credit card payments, or simply accessing school records or information. As if that weren’t enough to think about, if an adult child is seriously injured and unable to make medical decisions on his or her own, it may be difficult if not impossible (depending on the state) for parents to make any medical decisions or even obtain medical information for their adult child.
A simple and relatively inexpensive solution is to set up financial and healthcare powers of attorney. An adult child executes both forms and names his or her parents as attorney-in-fact.
Almost all states recognize a power of attorney properly executed in another state, so documents executed in Tennessee should work in any state in which your child lives. While some states have default means for a relative to make medical or financial decisions for an incapacitated individual, the process for establishing such authority is nowhere near as clear or uncomplicated as simply presenting a copy of an executed power of attorney. The cost to set up such powers of attorney is usually minimal.
We strongly recommend considering having your adult children execute powers of attorney; they are well worth the time and money. Call your attorney at Burch, Porter & Johnson today to get started on this vital form.