Thousands of parents will send their children off to college this month. While these young adults will be equipped with new laptops, backpacks, comforters, and dorm room décor, they will likely not have two very important documents – medical and financial durable powers of attorney.
In most states (including Colorado), parents don’t have the authority under the law to make health care decisions or manage money for their kids once they turn 18. This means if your young adult child is in an accident or becomes ill, his or her doctor may refuse to discuss your child’s condition and treatment with you. And no, being listed as an emergency contact does not circumvent the law. In fact, you will likely need court approval to act on your adult child’s behalf.
A medical power of attorney authorizes someone (called the “agent”) to make medical decisions on your behalf. And legally, it also automatically gives that agent access to your medical records. A financial power of attorney authorizes your agent to make financial decisions on your behalf to ensure bills are being paid on time.
Having these documents in place will guarantee that medical and financial decisions can be made on behalf of your young adult so he or she can focus on healing and getting back to class.