By: Matthew H. Fry, Esquire
In the coming weeks it will be graduation season, and that means that many of your high school age children will become, or have already become, legal adults. Parents who are used to making decisions for their children must now realize that their children are now legal adults, which limits what can be done on their behalf. If a parent is used to discussing medical information with their child’s doctor, or accessing their bank accounts, once a child turns 18 the parents lose those rights unless their children give permission.
Whether your young adult is going off to college or if they plan to stay home and work, when it comes to any issues that could arise with respect to their financial or medical well-being, they are on their own to handle such issues. If the child still relies on others to assist them, now is the time for young adults to think about having a power of attorney giving their parents, guardians, or trusted friends the power to make decisions on their behalf when they are unable.
A power of attorney allows the individual with the power to perform certain functions that the individual could do as if they were doing it themselves. The scope of that power is dependent upon your needs and can be very broad or limited. For example, a power of attorney can be limited to making health care decisions, or just allow the handling of finances.
Without a power of attorney, a person who becomes incapacitated, or unreachable because of travel, will have no one to assist them in making essential decisions regarding their financial affairs, medical care, or other important decisions. For example, many parents get powers of attorney for their children living at college so they can take money out of their accounts for the child’s use, or make medical appointments or consult with doctors on behalf of their child. Without a power of attorney, parents of a legal adult would not be authorized to assist their child if something went wrong.
So, while you are planning to celebrate your high school graduate, you should also consider putting a plan in place while your child transitions to adulthood.
The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP is a full-service law firm in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We strive to help people, businesses and institutions throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania solve legal problems – and even prevent legal problems before they occur. To learn more about the full range of our specific practice areas, please visit www.dioriosereni.com or contact Matthew H. Fry, Esquire at 610-565-5700 or at [email protected].
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