When your children turn 18 it is an exciting time for both them and you. This is when their lives as adults start; maybe they will be going off to college, starting a new job, or moving across country. Although a lot of parents feel a certain amount of sadness when children leave the nest, it is exciting to see the children you raised spread their wings and fly.
During this exciting time for your family, there are still some important issues to consider that you may not have thought of. Because your child is now of legal age, he or she will need a Power of Attorney and a Health Care agent.
There are several reasons why your children might need Durable Powers of Attorney. Unlike before your children turned 18, if they should run into any financial problems with their bank or credit card companies, you will not have access to their accounts to help fix the problem. The financial institutions they are dealing with cannot even discuss the account with you, unless you have been named under a Power of Attorney.
Suppose your child is abroad and has some trouble accessing money from his or her bank account. If you do not have Power of Attorney there is nothing you can do, but with this document in place, you can talk with the financial institution and get the situation worked out.
A Health Care Power of Attorney is just as important; this should be prepared and signed as soon after your child’s 18th birthday as possible. This way you and your child can have some peace of mind knowing that if an unlikely accident or sickness does occur, you will be authorized to make health care decisions your child if he or she is unable to do so.
Keep in mind that although you may view your children as your babies, in reality once they turn 18 they are a legal adults with the rights to privacy that all citizens have. Without these documents in place, you may not be able to help if your son or daughter does run into problems.
Make an appointment with an estate-planning attorney so that your child can discuss the options that are available to him or her.