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  • Jessica Luna

Importance of Power of Attorney for Recent Graduates

If your child recently graduated from high school, then you have likely been helping them prepare for whatever their next step in life is. That might mean buying dorm room essentials, reviewing class schedules, filing paperwork for student loans and financial aid, or prepping them for job interviews. There are a couple of items that you might have missed on the college prep list, but that should be considered essential: power of attorney for healthcare and financial power of attorney. Upon turning age 18, parents generally no longer have authority to make health care decisions or manage their child’s financial matters unless the child has named the parent(s) as agent under a power of attorney.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of an individual who is incapacitated. If the incapacitated individual can no longer make or communicate reasonable health care decisions, the agent will make decisions based on the documented preferences provided in the healthcare POA. Additionally, the healthcare POA will allow the agent access to the incapacitated individual’s medical records, as well as allow the agent the ability to communicate with doctors and other health care professionals. While POAs for healthcare are often associated with end-of-life situations, they are used in many other medical scenarios, and can be crucial to ensuring your graduate receives the appropriate care in the event of emergency.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is similar to a healthcare POA but designates an agent to act on the incapacitated individual’s behalf regarding financial matters. With a financial POA, the agent can pay bills, settle debts, make decisions regarding property, and otherwise handle the individuals’ financial affairs. College-age children might not have substantial assets, but their credit cards, checking and savings accounts, car loans, and apartment leases are just a few financial matters that would be handled under a financial POA. Financial POAs can also allow access to digital accounts such as online accounts for school, banking, social media, and more.

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