. . . without naming you on a medical power of attorney!
Alright. I know. That was bad. However, if you keep up with my blog you will soon learn that I love bad puns. Now that I have gotten that out-of-the-way. . .
If your adult kids (over 18) don’t do any other estate planning, they should name you as their agent under a medical power of attorney.
When your kids are minors you as their parent and natural guardian make their personal and medical decisions for them. However, as soon as they reach adulthood they are presumed to be able to make their decisions. Likewise, when they turn 18 (if they do not have a medical power of attorney), neither you nor anybody else can step in to make their decisions if something happens to them.
For example, your 18-year-old goes on a trip to the beach with his or her friends. They drink too much and are involved in an accident. You get a panicked call from one of their friends. You call the hospital and the hospital refuses to give you any information. They ask you for a medical power of attorney. They say something about HIPAA, which to you now is a curse.
Even worse is that nobody can make any decisions for your (now adult) child. If your child does not have a power of attorney, no one has the authority to make descisions for them. You have to go to Probate Court and prove to the judge that you should be appointed as your child’s conservator (the adult equivalent of a guardian for a minor child). This is a time consuming and very expensive process.
It is also avoidable.
A simple health care power of attorney by your child can give you peace of mind and save you potentially serious heartache later.
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