The Weekly Scenario: Power of Attorney for an 18-Year-Old
Question: Would you advise that my 18-year-old going off to college this fall have a Power of Attorney?
Answer: A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows one person (called the “principal”) to appoint someone else (called the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to act on his or her behalf. The powers that can be exercised by the agent can be broad or narrow; the principal stipulates the specific powers in advance. When your child turns 18, that child is presumed to be capable of making his or her own financial decisions. While, in the eye of the law, an 18-year-old is considered an adult, they’re still fairly young and often “immature” when it comes to making financial decisions. Even beyond what we might call a “common sense” decision, there are other types of decisions that a parent, acting by power of attorney, can assist a child.
For example: let’s take a child studying overseas. It might be very beneficial for the parent to have a power of attorney to call about a credit card or a student’s grades or a tuition bill while the child is abroad. Even if the child is not abroad, the parent may be better suited to deal with these matters than the child.
With respect to health: a healthcare power of attorney will give a parent the authority to make decisions for their child, and even authorize the release of medical records to themselves in an effort to maximize both the financial and medical benefits available.
In short: Power of Attorney is definitely worth considering for a child.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org or .
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Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.
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