By now, most of your little ones and not-so-little ones are back to school. Let the lessons and the homework begin for the little ones and the "life lessons" begin for the not-so-little ones. Something to consider for all the New Adults (18+) and potentially their parents: Executing a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney. I know it's not commonly mentioned with regards to the "young adults" it's usually it is discussed with the "older adults" but I think it worth mentioning.
To be fair, I believe everyone, young and old and in between should have these documents executed and updated every 5 years, but I digress. The reason I am talking about 18+ is because there are a lot things "to do" and to be taken of as you make the transition to adulthood and many times executing these documents are overlooked because most folks don't understand the value.
The Healthcare Power of Attorney or Healthcare Agent document purpose is to appoint a trust individual to make healthcare decisions in the event the person is not able. There are many sets of circumstances that can occur when you are at college and/or on "your own" for the first time including health related issues. Sometimes the 18 year old is still on their parent's health insurance and sometimes tax return, however if there is no such Healthcare Power of Attorney in place, there is a good chance the parents are not going to be able to make those healthcare decisions. I would also recommend having a HIPPA Release drawn up and signed as well.
The other document to consider is a Durable Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney allows for someone you appointed to make decisions "as if they are you." So, if for some reason a lease needs to be signed while your 18 year old is still backpacking through Europe, you can execute the document. Or if you need to inquire with the College Financial Department or Banking institution to take care of an account, you can do this. Please know, a Durable Power of Attorney can be all encompassing with regards to the powers it allows or it can be limited. Most people have a great aversion to signing a Durable Power of Attorney, some of which is good. You should always be aware of the possibility of unscrupulous individuals. However, please don't let this fear cripple your decision to execute this document. First, you need to find an Attorney that your trust and understand you can maintain complete control by appointing an individual that you trust. The alternative of not having this in place in some form or fashion may make much harder to take care of things if the need arises.
There are a few other legal documents that are also beneficial to have as well, like a Living Will, HIPPA Release as mentioned above, but we will save that discussion for another time. PLEASE NOTE: Both of these documents, the Healthcare Power of Attorney and the Durable Power of Attorney are important and everyone should have at least these executed so you know who is taking care of you and your life if you are not able. You should consult with an Attorney to determine what make the most sense for you and your circumstances.
More Americans are living longer. What happens when an aging parent can no longer care for themselves? Oftentimes, if arrangements have not already been made, their children step in and take responsibility for them. Here are some interesting facts from AARP:
Attorney: It is important to remember if you are going to begin to take on the responsibility be sure you consult with an attorney to establish decision making authority so you are able to make the care decisions.
Certified Financial Planner: You should also consider consulting with a certified financial planner to establish a good working picture of your parents financial status and available funds for payment of care.
Daily Money Manager: Another professional to consider is a Daily Money Manager. They can take care of your parent's day-to-day financial concerns are provide a report of bills paid, financial events (keep track of important papers and renewals vital of insurance policies) as well as provide a second set of eyes on bank accounts to catch unnecessary fees and prevent identity theft.
Every family is different and the needs for caring for an aging parent are ever changing.
The key is to be proactive and be knowledgeable about your options.
Page Maintained by: Jennifer Shulman
Jennifer is committed to helping her clients as well as other folks improve their daily financial circumstances by providing simple financial solutions.