Many parents worry when their young adult children leave for college. They know the world is unpredictable and that lack of life experience can leave their adult college students vulnerable in Maryland or in any other state. This is why parents should take the right legal precautions in order to protect their young adult children from being put in a difficult position when they become incapacitated. A power of attorney document will enable parents to make medical and financial decisions on behalf of their young adult children when they are not able to make them for themselves.
It is possible that a young college student finds himself in a vehicle accident which causes him to be knocked unconscious. Many times without a healthcare power of attorney document his parents will not be able to access even the most basic information regarding his medical condition. Although when the boy regains consciousness he will be able to give consent to allow his doctors to speak with his parents, it can be a problem if he happens to be in a coma which could last for several weeks.
However, a young college student may also want his or her parents to not only make medical decisions, but also make financial decisions on the student's behalf. A financial power of attorney document will allow parents to access a young adult's bank account as well as pay the college student's bills in the case that the young adult is incapacitated. Additionally, in some cases a young adult may want his or her parents to be able to access his or her financial accounts even when the young adult is not incapacitated. A general financial power of attorney, as opposed to a "springing" financial power of attorney, will give parents this legal authority.
When drafting a power of attorney, whether it be for healthcare or financial decisions, it is important to ensure the legal language is properly formed in order to make sure it is legally enforceable in Maryland or in any other state. This means one will have to be familiar with relevant laws in order to properly apply them to the specific situation. Both parents and college students will sleep better knowing that a power of attorney document is in place.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Why Your College-Age Child Needs an Estate Plan, Anne Tergesen, Sept. 21, 2013