Summary: To ensure that parents can continue protecting their children from a financial and legal standpoint, it is a good idea for the new graduates to have some basic estate planning documents in place, such as a Financial Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive for Health Care.
Many Georgia parents have recently had the pleasure of watching their teenage sons and daughters walk the high school stage and pick up their diploma. Over the next few months, those proud parents will be preparing their children for the next stage of life, such as a career or college. To ensure that parents can continue protecting their children from a financial and legal standpoint, it is a good idea for the new graduates to have some basic estate planning documents in place.
A Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables a person to act on another’s behalf in the event of an illness or disability. A power of attorney can manage another person’s financial and legal affairs including bank accounts, credit cards, leases for property, digital assets, and other matters. If a person names his or her parent as their power of attorney, that parent can manage financial accounts, pay bills, transfer/deposit money, or even sign a legal document. In other words, if a person becomes sick or disabled, the parent can step in to make sure the bills are paid, and that any legal matters are handled. A power of attorney will likely be required for parents to have access to school records, even if they are paying tuition. For more information about financial power of attorney, you can view our blog on the “Must Have” Estate Planning Documents.
An Advance Directive for Health Care is a form in which a person lists his or her health care preferences in detail, such as treatment, medical testing, and care options. The Advance Directive gives family members, doctors, and hospitals notice of the person’s wishes and is only used if the person is unable to communicate those wishes. With an Advance Directive, a person can name his or her parent their Medical Power of Attorney (also known as a health care agent) to make any health decisions. The parent would then be able to look at their adult child’s medical records, speak to doctors, and make any decisions about medical testing or treatment. Without a medical power of attorney in place, there will likely be a delay around parents making urgent health care decisions for their children once they turn 18-years-old and, in some cases, parents might need court approval to act of their child’s behalf. For more information, you can read part one and part two of our blog series on advance directives for health care.
Under Georgia law, when a person turns 18 years old, they are officially an adult, and their parents no longer have access to their health, finance, and legal matters. So, for parents who want to continue protecting these new graduates and new adults, it is a good idea to talk to your teenager about naming you as their financial and medical power of attorney.
If you have additional questions about estate planning for new adults, or if you would like to set up an estate planning consultation, contact Siedentopf Law via our website at EstateLawAtlanta.com or by calling (404) 736 – 6066.
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