During these unprecedented times, it is normal for you to want to take every necessary measure to make sure your family is always prepared. Imagine not being able to make legal decisions for your child going away to college. Without a power of attorney (POA), a parent cannot handle certain matters on behalf of their college student.
What exactly is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a document that allows you to assign a person or entity to manage your college student’s property, financial, or medical affairs when they become unable to do so. In case of an emergency, this document is an effective tool if your child moves away for college and needs someone else to handle their personal affairs. In a POA, your college student is the Principal, or the person for whom the decisions are made, and the assigned person is the Agent.
When would you need a power of attorney?
Serious illnesses and accidents are unpredictable. That is why a POA is often used to prepare for instances when a college student can no longer make these types of decisions for themselves. By planning, you can ensure your college student is prepared for any unforeseeable situation.
Are there different types of POAs?
There are 2 different types of POAs, one used for financial matters and another one for health care decisions.
Under a POA for property, you can:
- Buy, sell, rent or lease real estate or other property;
- Control bank accounts (including paying bills);
- Deal with any type of insurance policy.
Under a POA for health care you can:
- Be named as your college student’s personal representative.
- Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a personal representative is a person who has the authority, under applicable law, to make health care decisions for a patient.
- This includes directing or refusing healthcare interventions or stopping treatment for your college student;
- Talk with doctors or other healthcare providers about your college student’s condition;
- See their medical records and approve who else can see them;
- Give permission for medical tests, medicines, surgery, or other treatment.
How do you get a power of attorney?
First, you must pick an individual you trust to assign as an Agent. The individual must be willing to act on behalf of your college student during financial or medical problems. Second, you should consult with an attorney to draft a POA. Using an attorney will help ensure that a POA conforms with state requirements. An attorney can indicate your preferences by drafting a POA that will clarify the decisions an Agent can make for your college student.
What happens if you lack a power of attorney?
With a properly drafted POA, you can avoid conflicts with people who may not have your college student’s best interests in mind. On the other hand, without a POA, you may be forced into costly and time-consuming delays. It is important to remember that a POA can help your family when your college student is most vulnerable and can no longer make decisions for themselves.
Consult with an Experienced Lake County Attorney
While any individual can draft a POA, an attorney is familiar with the language that will make clear the full extent of the responsibilities a parent wishes to convey for their college student. Therefore, having a professional draft a POA will make certain that your family’s wishes are being followed.
The experienced Libertyville and Wheaton estate planning attorneys at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC can help you draft a POA. Call us today at (847) 549-0600 or email us at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation.
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