It’s Not Too Late for a Young Adult Power of Attorney

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What is a young adult POA and why does my college student need one?

A YA POA form is an essential legal document that all young people need when they reach 18 years of age. Most parents assume that they have automatic authority to handle decisions for their adult children, should they encounter an unexpected illness or accident that leaves them incapacitated.

However, once a child turns 18, parents no longer have the authority to make medical or financial decisions for their children. A power of attorney form and healthcare power of attorney form authorizes parents to help their adult children manage financial, legal, and healthcare decisions as needed. Mama Bear Legal Forms offers both at an affordable cost.

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It’s not too late for a POA (@tonymeyers via Twenty20)

Without these critical forms in place, if your child suffers an accident, is very sick, or gets into debt while away at school, you will not be able to converse with banks, doctors, or insurance companies on their behalf.

Without a power of attorney in place, parents are hamstrung as to how to help their children and hindered in their efforts to advocate for their best interests.

Every adult child should have a durable power of attorney for health care and the same for financial matters because these forms designate who is authorized to handle medical and financial decisions in an emergency or when a child gets in over their head.

Without these forms, a state may appoint a guardian or conservator for your young adult. Not only is it possible for it not to be the parent, but the process can be complex and expensive. Power of attorney forms eliminate this concern.

What if my child attends college out of state?

Once they understand the need for a power of attorney form, many parents ask us if they need multiple power of attorney forms when their children attend college out of state. While you can create multiple forms through Mama Bear Legal Forms at no additional cost, one power of attorney form is all that’s needed.

A properly executed power of attorney form for one state will nearly always be recognized should it become necessary in another state. The key is to designate the correct home state when you complete a power of attorney form.

What do I list as my child’s home state on a POA form?

Look at your child’s driver’s license. The state that is listed should be your child’s home state when you are completing your young adult power of attorney paperwork. Your child’s home state is the place where he or she lives permanently and does things such as pay taxes, vote, receive mail, and obtain a driver’s license.

If your child attends school in another state, his or her home state is still likely the state in which he or she was living before going away for college. In short, the home state is most likely where your child is coming home for the holidays.

Now is the perfect time to get this done

In the rush to get your child off to college, putting a young adult power of attorney form (YA POA) in place may have been one of the ‘to do’ items on your list that slipped. Or, your child was 17-years-old when they left for school but they have now or will soon be turning 18. The time to put a YA POA form in place is when a young adult turns 18 or reaches the age of majority in their home state (in Alabama and Nebraska the age is 19). 

Further, college campuses have notaries. So, it actually may be best for your child to complete their power of attorney forms on campus where they can then easily get them notarized.

Or you can purchase and prepare the documents and have them ready to sign when your student gets home for Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect and hear all about how the first semester is going. It’s also the perfect time to talk about young adult power of attorney forms and help your child understand why having one is a good idea.

Now that they are complete, where do I keep my power of attorney forms?

After creating and having your child sign the POA forms, keep the originals in a safe place with other important documents. If your child is home for the holidays, take a moment to show him or her where these documents are stored. You should also scan and save them so they are readily available to email to a healthcare provider or financial institution in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to send your child back to school with a copy of their own.

After you’re done passing the mashed potatoes and slicing the pumpkin pie this holiday season, take a few minutes out of your day to put in place a critical form that will give you, and your college student, peace of mind with a valid and executed power of attorney form. It only takes ten minutes, get started now.

More Great Reading:

50 Things You Can Do When You Turn 18 (Who Knew?)

About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Lisa

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