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Your baby just graduated from high school. Can you still speak for them?

And just like that . . . your baby is 18 and a high school graduate. I can imagine how relieved you are – you have successfully launched an adult into the world. And then you think…oh my goodness, I just launched my child into the world. What if they get hurt? Do I have the same ability to help them that I did when they were under 18, and still living under my roof as a child?

You have probably never thought about it, but once your child turns 18 parents generally no longer have authority to make health care decisions or manage their child’s financial matters unless the child has named the parent(s) as agent under a power of attorney.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

Now that your child is an adult, the law no longer presumes that a parent speaks for them. Just as you should have a financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney, your child needs to go through the process of thinking about Their Legacy Goals.

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of an individual who is incapacitated. If the incapacitated individual can no longer make or communicate reasonable health care decisions, the agent will make decisions based on the documented preferences provided in the healthcare POA. Additionally, the healthcare POA will allow the agent access to the incapacitated individual’s medical records, as well as allow the agent the ability to communicate with doctors and other health care professionals.

While POAs for healthcare are often associated with end-of-life situations, they are used in many other medical scenarios, and can be crucial to ensuring your graduate receives the appropriate care in the event of emergency.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is similar to a healthcare POA but designates an agent to act on the incapacitated individual’s behalf regarding financial matters. With a financial POA, the agent can pay bills, settle debts, make decisions regarding property, and otherwise handle the individuals’ financial affairs.

College-age children might not have substantial assets, but their credit cards, checking and savings accounts, car loans, and apartment leases are just a few financial matters that would be handled under a financial POA. Financial POAs can also allow access to digital accounts such as online accounts for school, banking, social media, and more.

Your Legacy Goals are the foundation for Their Legacy Goals

If you are reading this post or my other posts, you probably know that I emphasize meeting Your Legacy Goals. I firmly believe that your legacy is not just the material items you leave to others. Your legacy is the love, knowledge, and wisdom that you pass to your love ones. The graduation of your child from high school is a perfect opportunity for you to start showing your child how you think about your legacy. Their Legacy Goals are part of Your Legacy Goals.

Written by: David Carter

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