Power of Attorney Forms Are a Must for Young Adults

June 16, 2023

Turning 18 can bring on feelings of joy, freedom, and excitement for the future. Most of us remember those days for ourselves, but the feelings are often flipped when our children turn 18. We are left with questions about what comes next and whether our children will still turn to us for guidance or lean on their newfound independence.

What many families don’t recognize is what turning 18 can mean for a parent’s legal access to their child. Legally, they are no longer considered children and therefore have a whole slate of new rights and responsibilities for themselves. If you don’t have Power of Attorney forms signed for your newly-18-year-old child then you could be left in the dark when the worst happens.

Medical Power of Attorney

Up until now, you have had full access to your child’s medical records, treatments, and decisions. If they end up hurt at school or at a friend’s house then you would be privy to any information about what hospital they are in, what condition they’re in, and what treatments they need.

All of that ends the day they turn 18. If your child goes off to college this fall and gets in a bad accident, you would not legally be permitted to know any of that information. You would be left in the dark (excluding cases where the situation is so severe and next of kin must be notified).

Most colleges have forms that allow parents to access any health information relating to their children on campus, but this does not extend beyond the boundaries of what happens on campus.

Durable Power of Attorney

Medical information and decisions may be more vital, but a Durable Power of Attorney designation gives you similar access and control over your child’s finances. Maybe you set up a bank account or credit card for them to build credit while away from home. That’s an important step in their financial journey, but you lose access to their financials just the same as you do with their medicals.

A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to make important financial decisions on their behalf. If your child isn’t ready to build a solid financial plan on their own then getting Power of Attorney designations in place will be crucial.

Work with a Florida estate planning attorney

At Schlegel Livingston, we understand how important these moments are for families. We work with Florida families to craft thorough and effective estate plans that provide peace of mind and a pathway toward a better future. If your child is about to turn 18 or just turned 18, contact our offices and make sure you have these forms in place.