Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Legal documents you should sign if your child is going to college

Sending your kid off to college is a monumental time. It is a huge change for both you and your child who is now an adult. There are a lot of things to take care of–packing up clothes, moving and, of course, crying. However, amidst all the chaos, you should not forget to take care of some legal matters.

Now that your son or daughter is 18 years old and moving out, you cannot make legal choices for him or her. Not having this ability can be stressful when your child is away from you. Without the written consent from your child, you will not be able to make decisions regarding medical treatment or finances. This can be troublesome if your child gets into an accident and becomes incapacitated. Here are the documents you and your child must sign to ensure you have peace of mind.

Health care power of attorney

By signing a health care power of attorney, your child assigns you (or someone else) as an agent to make health care decisions on his or her behalf if s/he cannot. Other names for a health care power of attorney include medical power of attorney, durable power of attorney for health care or designation of a health care proxy. 

General power of attorney

A general power of attorney gives you the ability to manage the finances of your child in the event of incapacity. Your child may give you the authority to make decisions about the following:

  • Bank accounts
  • Tax returns
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Transferring assets to trusts

Your kid can set limits to what you can oversee and when your authority goes into effect. 

Not being able to make financial or medical decisions on behalf of your child can be scary. Make sure you sort these documents out as soon as possible so both of you can feel better.