Power of Attorney for Adult Children

06/08/2016

Do you have a Power of Attorney for both medical and financial matters for your adult children?  Why are these documents important and what are the potential consequence of not having one?

A Power of Attorney is a document that allows another person to make medical and financial decisions and sign medical and financial documents on your behalf.  These are important documents in estate planning.  Typically a husband and wife will have a Power of Attorney as part of their estate plan appointing the other to make medical and financial decisions if they become disabled or incompetent. A Power of Attorney avoids the need to make you go to court to get a Guardianship/Conservatorship set up (saving time and money).

What if you have adult children (over 18) who are not married?  If they do not have a Power of Attorney and become incompetent (as a result of an illness or injury), then it may be necessary to go through the time and expense of getting a guardianship/conservatorship to legally care for them.  This is because since they are no longer minors, you do not have legal authority over them.  With a Power of Attorney, an adult child can appoint his or her parents to make decisions for the child (medical and financial) if the child cannot make his or her own decisions.

I would suggest talking with your adult children about them giving a Power of Attorney to you (or someone they trust).  Although they might not appreciate it now, it can make a great birthday present for a child and can teach them responsibility.