Did you know that once your kids turn 18, that they are legally viewed as an adult? What?! I’m sure you don’t hear that Every. Single. Day. once your kids hit that age. But, in all reality, they are right – the state will view kids as an adult once they hit 18. This means that even if you’re paying for their tuition, their gas, car insurance, they’re still on your health insurance, and you’re still feeding them, it doesn’t really matter. The state says ‘legally’ you have no authority or say so in their lives – I know, it’s great to hear! (full of sarcasm)
But, where this really comes into play is say your kids are off at college and something happens playing flag football, somebody breaks their arm. Most schools will have an emergency medical contact, which is great – the school can call you up and say “Hey something happened Bob, Bob broke his arm.” And that’s the extent of the call, at least you know what happened right? But, in most cases, unless you have something like a power of attorney, that’s really where the communication stops.
Now I will say, I’m not an attorney, this is not legal advice – if you’re looking to get any types of powers of attorney done, make sure you consult with your estate attorney.
But, in these types of situations, most the time if you’re trying to call up a doctor or the hospital, trying to get information and see what’s happening, you might have a really hard time getting through because once they find out that the kid is 18, they likely will shut off communication unless you can provide them with a power of attorney or something of that nature. This means that you may not be able to help give medical direction, say that “this is a treatment we want to pursue” or let them know that they might be allergic to Amoxicillin or things like that.
With powers of attorney, there is Medical and Financial. Medical means you can help make those medical decisions – you can try and help with the treatment plan, saying we want to pursue option A, B, or C, and give some guidance. A financial power of attorney means you can take over the ‘financial life’ should something happen, to make sure bills get paid, you can make sure tuition gets paid, you can make sure credit cards don’t come past due, things of that nature.
To take it a step further, if kids are out of college and off working on their own, they’re single, and something happens at work, same type of deal. Maybe it’s something a little more serious and they end up going into a coma, it’s kind of the same situation as before. If they’re off on their own, they have no spouse, and have no power of attorney, it might be really difficult to get anything done through the proper legal channels without having that type of power of attorney. So, think of a power attorney a lot like insurance in a sense, where it’s something that you hope you never have to use, because it means a “worst-case” situation has happened. But, in those worst-case scenarios, these are always things that are nice to have! Just make sure if you’re going that route, talk with your attorney to make sure you get the documents done the right way and the way that you want them done. Y’all have a good one!