Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Do you have a child that turned eighteen or is about to turn eighteen? What about a child on their way off to college?
EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW
You probably did not realize that once your child turn eighteen your rights as their parent/guardian/protector cease to exist. That means you CANNOT:
- Go to the bank for them,
- Talk to their doctors,
- Talk to their school about grades
- As the parent of college freshman, I was like many other parents who are shocked and dismayed to discover this new reality.
We all know accidents can happen to anyone. But it is sometimes hard to accept that it could happen to your own 18 year old child.
My son goes to college out of state. I heard of a story of a student being a car-bike accident. When the parents called the hospital to find out the status of their child, the hospital would not (and could not, by law) release information. The child was over eighteen and had not signed a Patient Advocate Designation allowing information to be released to the parents.
A Patient Advocate Designation can also provide a parent with the important ability to make decisions as to whether “heroic measures” should be taken to artificially prolong a life. Without this document, a guardianship proceeding may be necessary and the probate court would become involved in decision-making regarding artificial life support, forced feeding and/or hydration.
NOT ALL EIGHTEEN YEAR OLDS CAN MANAGE FINANCES (SHOCKING, BUT TRUE)
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint an “agent” to handle financial affairs (i.e. real estate, dealing with banks, etc.) if you become disabled, ill or otherwise unable to communicate. When your child turns eighteen, and you cannot act on his or her behalf anymore, your child should have a Durable Power of Attorney to appoint someone to deal with their financial affairs in the event they cannot do it themselves.
IT MAKES A GREAT GRADUATION PRESENT (FOR YOU)
If your child is turning eighteen or college-bound, protect their health and finances with a Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designation. They are a inexpensive way to ease your mind.