No one ever wants to think about bad things happening to their children. It is hard enough to think about bad things happening to yourself. As an attorney, it is part of my job to think about “worst case” scenarios to protect you.
So, here is a worst-case scenario. Your adult-age child is badly injured. You get a phone call, telling you your child is scheduled for emergency surgery that night. In a panic, you somehow get to the hospital in the middle of Anytown, USA. Doctors start asking you questions about medical care and what level of medical effort should be made if something happens. You try to make these decisions, but the Hospital staff tells you that you cannot make them because your child is over 18, and is therefore an adult. This is your child, you have always made these decisions, yet you never thought about signing a medical directive.
Now, you also need to contact your child’s school, and talk with them about money and withdrawing from class. Some schools might speak with you, but others might not, because your child is over 18, is considered an adult, and no one ever authorized the school to speak with you.
Fortunately, your child makes a full and complete recovery overnight. It’s a medical miracle!
Wonderful. You never really needed to make any medical or financial decisions for him-which would have been very difficult to do because neither you nor your child signed a health care directive nor a power of attorney.
The moral of this little fable is that your adult children need an estate plan also. They might not need a Will, but it is not a bad idea to have a medical directive naming you as their parent to make decisions on their behalf, and it probably is not a bad idea to have a power of attorney so you can speak to the student loan companies.
Proper Estate planning is for all adults. Don’t leave major life decisions to your family and friends. Help them to make your voice be heard, when you may be unable to speak for yourself.
Written by Larry Kroll, Attorney At Law, March 2019