Whether they’re ready for adult responsibilities or not, your child is considered an adult in the eyes of the law the moment they turn 18. Even if you are paying their college tuition and / or your child is still considered a dependent, they are still an adult who will suddenly be responsible for a lot of things they may not be prepared for.
Suddenly having to deal with all financial situations on their own and having to make important medical decisions can be a lot on the shoulders of any young adult. After all, they will already be preoccupied with a lot of other things if they are currently in college. Fortunately, you can help ease the burden by being granted power of attorney while your child is in school. Likewise, what if your child is in an accident or finds themself suddenly in a difficult medical or financial situation? By having power of attorney, you can actively help and make sure no important decisions are messed up. Here’s what you need to know:
Power is Not Unlimited
Before proceeding, it’s important to know that “power of attorney” is not a one-size-fits-all type of situation. When granted power of attorney, you will only have the specified powers that your child agrees to give to you. You may be granted the ability to make financial decisions for your child but not medical ones, or vice versa (or both). Either way, it’s crucial that these details are talked over with an attorney first.
There Are Different Types of ‘Power of Attorney’
There are three main types of Power of Attorney that you should be aware of. You should discuss each option with your child in order to decide what is appropriate.
- Conventional – This grants power of attorney for a specific time period starting right from when it is signed.
- Durable – This grants power for the principal’s (your child’s) lifetime. This also begins right from when the documents are signed.
- Springing – A springing power of attorney is what it sounds. It “springs” into effect only in the event of a specifically outline event, such as an accident or severe illness. In most cases, it is triggered only when the principal is rendered incapacitated or otherwise unable to make their own decisions.
In many situations between parents and college students, the conventional power of attorney is chosen for the duration of the time spent in college. That said, some people may find that other types are more suitable.
Having Power of Attorney Allows You to Request Copies of Your Child’s Grades
If you’re helping to pay for your child’s tuition in any way or otherwise supporting them financially, it’s only natural that you want to make sure your money isn’t going to waste. However, as a legal adult your child is under no obligation to show you or even talk about their grades to you. While it shouldn’t be the main reason you seek to have power of attorney, being able to legally request a copy of your child’s grades from the school is a benefit.
Signing Over Power of Attorney Does Not Remove Their ‘Adult’ Status
Naturally, your child may wonder if granting you power of attorney makes them any less of adult. The answer to this is a resounding “no!” They are still very much an adult in every aspect, including legally. The truth is that people of all ages can, and do, grant other people power of attorney for various reasons.
It’s Easy to Get Started
Your child signing over power of attorney to you is actually a fairly straightforward and easy process. They will simply need to specify who they want to have this power (i.e. you), and an experienced attorney can draw up the paperwork. Once you both sign the documents, it’s a done deal and you’re good to go.
Have more questions? Ready to get started? Contact the pros at Dana Law Group today!