By: Chris Kelly
Recently, we came across an article in a publication put out by the Troy-based Kemp Klein law firm addressing the importance of powers of attorney for young adults. This is an issue that many people, particularly parents, may not think about.
Once your child turns 18, they are no longer considered a minor in Michigan. Many parents may not realize it, but this also means they no longer have the power to obtain medical information or manage assets and bank accounts of their children.
This can result in a very uneasy feeling for a lot of parents, especially those whose children are just about to head off to college and live on their own for the first time. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to alleviate this unwanted stress.
First, a parent should obtain a Durable Power of Attorney. In doing so, parents are able to make financial decisions that they would otherwise be prohibited from doing for their now-emancipated child.
In many cases, an 18 year old still lacks the maturity to make important financial decisions on their own. With a Durable Power of Attorney, parents can put their mind at ease knowing that they still have the ability to make such important decisions in the event of their child’s incapacity.
The next step is to obtain a Patient Advocate Designation. This document designates an adult to manage the care and medical treatment decisions of the young adult. Once a child reaches the majority age of 18, he or she can designate their parent to serve as a patient advocate. By doing so, the parents now have the ability to make sure that their child is making the best decisions for their healthcare and medical treatment in the event of an incapacity.
Like financial decisions, medical decisions can be very important and have a significant impact on an individual’s life. By keeping parents involved in this process, it not only helps the young adult, but also gives the parents peace of mind knowing that the best care and treatment will be provided should an incapacity arise unexpectedly.
Most people avoid thinking about this unpleasant topic; very few even know these types of documents and powers exist for young adults. When parents and their young adult children educate themselves on these basic probate planning precautions, medical and financial disasters for the young adult can be avoided.
Such forethought can ease the transition of the young adult from life under the protective umbrella, to living on their own.
This is a basic overview of these types of fiduciary powers and estate planning documents. Our law firm offers a free consultation to discuss these documents and the estate planning process.