Recently I traveled to North Carolina with my oldest daughter to attend an interview for college admission. As we were checking in at the airline ticketing counter and producing our IDs to the airline agent I suddenly realized that my daughter, my baby, is legally an adult. We celebrated her 18th birthday this past October, yet I hadn’t really thought about the effects of this milestone. She is now an adult, with all of the incumbent responsibilities adulthood brings. She may now vote, make contracts, choose whether or not to attend school, choose her medical providers and treatment…the list continues.More importantly, my ability to assist and manage tasks for her has greatly diminished.
I quickly realized that if something happens to my daughter,her father and Iwould be severely limited in our ability to do things for her and manage her affairs if necessary. You would expect someone who counsels clients regarding these issues every day to be super prepared and have the documents ready for my daughter to sign as soon as she blew out her birthday candles, but I didn’t. I guess I have been living in denial that my baby is all grown now and need to face the reality of her imminent departure to college.
Accordingly, it would be a good idea for my daughter to execute all of the same estate planning documents we recommend for our clients,e. g. last will and testament, advance health care directive, and durable power of attorney, HIPPA authorizations, and beneficiary designation forms for applicable assets. Most college students do not have many assets prompting people to assume that preparing such documents is unnecessary, yet without them we subject ourselves to avoidable hassles, delay, and possible expense.
My daughter plans to go away for college thus making the execution of a power of attorney a priority for us. Assuming she designates her father and/or I as her agents, we will be able to manage many of her local business type affairs for her while she is away should the need arise. Also having executed a power of attorney eliminates the need for the appointment of a guardian of her property if she would be in an accident and become incapacitated. Our hope is never to need to use the power of attorney but it is reassuring to know we will be able to act if necessary.
If you have any questions or require assistance with your newly adult children please contact us. We’re right here for you.