Over 18? You Need a Power of Attorney

Young Adults Need POAs Too

power of attorney for college student

Medical emergencies can strike people of any age.

When young people think about Powers of Attorney, if they think about them at all, they assume these documents are only for the elderly. Unfortunately, the elderly are not the only ones who need to worry about becoming incapacitated. As a result, anyone over the age of 18 should have Powers of Attorney drafted to meet their needs.

Why Young Adults need POAs

Young adults, as a group, do not tend to have Powers of Attorney. However, if you have moved away from home to go to college or begin your career, you likely do not have any one nearby who has the legal right to make either healthcare decisions for you or to access your bank account in order to pay your bills if you are incapacitated or unconscious.

What Documents Do You Need?

There are three documents young adults should consider obtaining in order to make certain their medical and financial wishes are honored. These documents are a Living Will, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Financial Power of Attorney.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a document that spells out what you want done or do not want done should you become seriously injured or seriously ill to such an extent that you are in a permanent unconscious vegetative state. For instance, if you should suffer brain death as a result of illness or serious injury and the physicians are absolutely stating you have no hope of recovery, do you want “heroic measures” to be taken to keep your body alive. If you do not have a Living Will, you will be resuscitated as long as it is possible, regardless of what you might have told your friends. An appropriately written Living Will allows the doctors to honor your requests and helps your family to know your desires, should something terrible happen. It is the person that you name in the Living Will as surrogates who will make certain that your wishes are carried out as you desire.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney gives a person who you trust (known as your agent) control over the financial and healthcare aspects of your life should you become incapacitated due to illness or injury or should you take a trip overseas, etc. and need someone locally to manage your financial affairs, pay your bills, etc. Different kinds of POAs give different kinds of control. You can give a person the right to make medical decisions or financial decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself. While a Living Will tells doctors and your loved ones your desires, if you are in a permanent, unconscious and vegetative state, a Medical Healthcare Power of Attorney allows someone (typically a relative) to actually make decisions for you with regard to your medical care in the hospital, i.e. decisions with regard to the type of operation to be performed on you, type of medication for you to take, type of treatment needed for your healthcare if you are not able to make those decisions for yourself. A Financial Power of Attorney allows your agent to handle your finances while you cannot, either because you are unconscious or in a hospital for a period of several weeks or you have traveled overseas for several weeks or a semester or what have you and you need somebody to pay your bills who you can trust will not detrimentally mishandle your money. Properly drafted Powers of Attorney will allow your agent to assist you with regard to your financial affairs and your health affairs.

Make Sure to Protect Yourself with the Proper Documents

Do not make the mistake of thinking that you do not need to plan for incapacitation. A serious car accident or other tragic event can occur to anyone at any age. The right legal preparation will give both you and your loved ones peace of mind to know that if something should happen, your needs will be watched over by someone you trust to property do so on your behalf.

If you would like assistance drafting your power of attorneys or if you have questions about POAs, feel free to contact our Shrewsberry estate law attorneys, today.

 

Copyright 2015, Hoffmeyer & Semmelman, LLC, all rights reserved.
Authored by William F. Hoffmeyer