As a parent, when your child turns 18 and embarks on their journey into adulthood, ensuring their safety and preparedness becomes a top priority. Whether they are heading off to college, joining the military, or entering the workforce, taking some essential steps can provide both you and your child with peace of mind to tackle real-world challenges together.

What is a Young Adult POA and Why is it Important?

Why Young Adults Need a Power of Attorney

You've always had authority over your child's decisions, but once they turn 18, that changes. Your young adult needs to grant you Power of Attorney for potential medical emergencies and financial matters.

Imagine your child falls seriously ill while away at school. The school or hospital might contact you as the emergency contact, but being the parent alone won't be enough to make medical decisions for them. The hospital legally requires specific forms, like the Power of Attorney to grant you the authority to decide on your child's care. 

Types of Powers of Attorney and Medical Releases
As a caring parent, you'll need the following important documents to retain some responsibilities for your young adult:

  • Health Care Power of Attorney: This allows parents to make medical decisions on their child's behalf if the child becomes incapable of making those decisions themselves.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This release gives doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies permission to discuss confidential medical information with you. It is often included as part of the Health Care Power of Attorney.
  • Financial Durable Power of Attorney: This document grants parents the ability to make financial decisions jointly with the child. In case the young adult becomes incapacitated, parents can make financial decisions on their behalf.
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): This release provides parents with access to education-related records such as report cards, disciplinary records, test results, and attendance records

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my child goes to college out-of-state?

You don't need multiple Power of Attorney authorizations for different states. One properly executed Power of Attorney document covers your child regardless of where they attend college or reside.

What do I list as my child’s home state on a POA form?

The "home state" on the Power of Attorney document should match your child's driver's license or state identification.

Where do I keep my POA papers now that they’re done?

Once completed and signed, keep the original copies in a safe and accessible place, such as a fire-safe or filing cabinet. Consider having a copy in your car for easy access while on the go. Ensure your child also has a copy and discusses emergency procedures with their friends.

Before sending your child off to college or into the world, taking the time to establish these essential legal safeguards can make a significant difference in times of uncertainty. By securing a Power of Attorney, you're demonstrating your commitment to protecting and supporting your young adult as they embark on their exciting journey into adulthood.

How Carolina Family Estate Planning Can Help

At Carolina Family Estate Planning, we deeply understand the significance of parents being able to provide unwavering support to their children, even as they step into adulthood. As you navigate this important phase of life, our dedicated estate planning attorneys stand ready to assist you with the essential young adult Power of Attorney (POA) process.

Establishing a Power of Attorney for your child is a prudent and accessible endeavor, and we are here to make the process smooth and stress-free for you. To discuss your specific needs and to schedule an appointment, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (919) 694-4437. Alternatively, you can conveniently use our case assessment link to initiate the consultation process.

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