Parents, we know you have an extensive checklist for preparing to send your child to college. BUT, we caution that there is one more, very important item to add to your list: Have your child execute a Power of Attorney.
Once your child becomes 18 years old, you no longer have the authority to manage money, or make health care decisions for your child. This remains true, even if you pay tuition on the child’s behalf, still cover her on your health insurance, or claim her as a dependent of your tax return. This result occurs because your child has reached the age of majority.
However, the consequences of the child becoming a major-adult and the lack of a Power of Attorney become evident when an unexpected event, such as an accident occurs, or a health care decision must be made. If your child became disabled, even temporarily, you may need a court order to act on your child’s behalf. This requires hiring an attorney, petitioning the court, and it is a very cumbersome and expensive process.
But, it is also very simple to avoid this scenario. Every child going to college needs a Power of Attorney in favor of a parent, or another adult they trust.
In addition, if your child plans to travel or attend school abroad, a Power of Attorney can make it easier to contact the local embassy on her behalf, or make it possible to send money from her own bank account.
Before sending your child to college, come see us. We can cost-effectively prepare a Power of Attorney for your peace of mind.