When my stepson was heading to Florida State University, we sat him down and explained
why he needed a durable power of attorney (POA) and healthcare surrogate designation. We explained that we needed to be able to help him in case he was injured or sick and he couldn’t speak with the doctors. We explained that since he was 18 years old, he is considered an adult for legal and medical purposes. We prepared the documents, gave him copies, and we kept the originals. Simple yet important process.
All parents should understand the need to create these two documents, a durable power of attorney and a healthcare surrogate designation for their adult children. Peace of mind is priceless.
A power of attorney and healthcare surrogate designation should be signed before anything goes wrong, so getting them before your adult child goes to college is a good idea. A durable POA allows your adult child to authorize someone to handle their financial and legal matters. When an adult child goes to college, a parent can become the trusted person (“agent” or “attorney-in-fact”). As their agent, you could handle tasks such as paying their bills, filing tax returns, monitoring investments, and depositing checks.
How could this play out? Your adult child is away in college or just living out of state or on vacation, and they become incapacitated in a severe car or diving accident or a nasty fall while hiking, the hospital cannot legally offer you any information about their condition. In addition, the medical staff cannot allow you to make important financial and medical decisions for your adult children.
According to HIPAA, when your child becomes an adult, your rights and their rights change. The law limits the information healthcare providers may disclose about your adult child’s physical health and mental treatment. Information can be shared only with friends, caregivers, and family under the right circumstances.
The solution is to get a durable power of attorney and healthcare surrogate designation completed and in place for each of your adult children. These documents should be signed before anything goes wrong, so it’s a good idea to do this before your student goes to college or university.
As an agent, you will ensure that healthcare providers and doctors offer your child the best medical care they wish to receive. If your child wants to clarify their wishes, they can also create a living will. This document offers written healthcare instructions to their healthcare providers and agent. After completing a medical POA and, if desired, a living will, your adult child should ensure that everyone involved in their care and health can access those. They can provide copies to their physicians, hospital, important family members, and attorney, if applicable.
Through September 1st, 2023, we are offering a College Bound Bundle for these documents (Durable POA, Healthcare surrogate designation, and living will) for $380. Peace of mind is priceless. Be sure to schedule your
to take advantage of this deal.