Too young for a power of attorney? Think again.
August 25, 2021
You just turned 18, and you are headed off to college hundreds of miles away from your parents. You are excited for classes to begin, and the worst thing imaginable happens. You are in an accident, in the hospital, unconscious. Your parents get a phone call from a roommate or friend to tell them. And then, the doctors are not legally able to either disclose your medical records to your parents or are your parents able to make informed medical decisions on your behalf.
Or what about this?
You just turned 18, and you are fortunate enough to take a college semester abroad. Your parents call your credit card company to advise them of your travels and the company will not speak with them. Neither will your bank, your landlord, or your student loan company. Or, what if your parents start calling these places while you are in the above-described hospital scenario?
Power of Attorney for Young Adults
Once you turn 18, you are legally considered an adult and your parents have no longer the legal ability to make legal decisions for you or receive information about you that is considered private. All your medical records become private and your parents have no right to obtain that information absent your approval. All of your financial information becomes private and your parents have no right to obtain that information absent your permission.
Consider whether it is appropriate for you, once you turn 18, to have your advance directives prepared by your trusted estate planning lawyer. You may consider having a power of attorney in favor of your parents or another trusted adult to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You may also consider having a health care power of attorney in place, to make health care decisions for you, to decide who is to make those health care decisions for you. This may also avoid any need for the appointment of a guardian by the court.