The mini-fridge, the extra-long twin sheets, the book list . . . the Power of Attorney document? Do you have an eighteen-year-old child heading off to college in the fall? If so, consider suggesting that he or she consult an attorney and execute a legal document known as a “Power of Attorney.” Although you may be accustomed to acting with authority over your child’s affairs, now that he/she is 18, you may run into situations where you are stymied and cannot act on behalf of your child. However, if your son or daughter creates a Power of Attorney and appoints you his/her agent or “attorney-in-fact”, you can now be assured that you’ll be able to do their banking, register their car, change their mailing address etc. etc.
The Power of Attorney has a few variations. There is a “limited” Power of Attorney where the agent only has the power to do certain things such as represent another at a real estate closing. The “general” Power of Attorney is usually much broader and allows the agent to act in any needed capacity. A Power of Attorney can be “springing” i.e. the ability to act is dependent on some condition such as incapacity or “durable” meaning the ability to act is not contingent upon an event or condition.
Although most consider estate planning something for the aged or wealthy, it is important that your adult child consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to prepare a Power of Attorney. You’ll want to make sure it is executed according to the laws of your state and your child will want to discuss the power he/she is handing over – perhaps neither of you really want you to have access to that Instagram account!
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