Congratulations, you have a graduating senior. This is an exciting new time in your and your child’s lives. There are many new opportunities and experiences that await the graduate as well as risks that you may not have thought of. Your child is most likely now a legal adult and they will now be treated differently by society as expected, but your legal relationship with you child has now also changed which you may not have taken into consideration.
Imagine the nightmare scenario of your child getting into an accident or a sudden severe illness while away at school, traveling or even while still living in your own home and having the medical professionals and institutions treating your child unable to share any information with you or allow you a voice in their treatment because of privacy laws.
A preemptive step you and your child can take would be to establish a “Medical Power of Attorney”. What is a Medical Power of Attorney? It is a legal document that allows you to choose someone to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you are injured in an accident, undergoing surgery or develop a medical condition that prevents you from making decisions on your own. In this document you will be able to choose your own Medical Power of Attorney Representative as well as an Alternate Medical Power of Attorney Representative who will then be able to make these decisions in the event that you are unable to make them on your own.
A Medical Power of Attorney is a critical step in your Estate Planning process and could be put into place on a stand alone basis or as part of a comprehensive review of your personal situation. You may have an attorney draft a custom document for you that lists out specific decisions related to your health and healthcare options. There are also many fill in the blank Medical Power of Attorney forms available that you may use. The form will need to be witnessed or notarized to become effective.
If you do not have a custom Medical Power of Attorney form and would like to receive a fillable form please feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to provide a free publicly available form.
As you can see, Estate Planning is not just for the elderly and or wealthy. Scheduling time with an experienced financial professional to review your specific circumstances is an important step in putting your personal and financial affairs in order and well worth the time you invest in yourself. How you handle a catastrophe is important, but avoiding a catastrophe in the first place can have an even bigger impact on your life.