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Why your college student needs Power of Attorney and Healthcare Surrogate documents

As spring ends many high school seniors are making decisions about the next steps in their education. These plans are often filled with excitement, nerves, and lots of preparation. But while you help them pick out mascot t-shirts and Twin XL sheets it is important to consider something that will likely not be listed on their dorm essentials checklist: Power of Attorney and Healthcare Surrogate documents.

A durable power of attorney is a document that appoints someone to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf in the event that they are unable to do so. This includes managing your child’s bank account as well as signing legal documents on their behalf in the event that they become incapacitated.

Similarly, a healthcare surrogate document appoints a person to make health-related decisions on their behalf as well as have access to medical information. This can be extremely important in medical emergencies in which your child needs someone they trust to act for them. This document also usually includes a living will, which allows your child to outline their thoughts on the use of different methods to extend life in extreme scenarios.

Sending a child off to college or the workforce can be a stressful time for parents, and many people may not want to think about the risk that a situation in which these documents are needed may occur. But preparing these documents before your child arrives on campus can remove roadblocks for parents should a situation arise and help them to continue to act as a support system for their child as they enter their young adult life.

This past fall Barnett Woolums said goodbye to our summer intern Payton as she embarked on a yearlong study abroad in Spain and the Dominican Republic. As we hear about her adventures and see pictures of her climbing mountains, riding horses, and swimming in waterfalls we are comforted by the knowledge that we were able to help her make decisions about what documents she needed before her departure.

If you have any questions about preparing these documents for your child over the age of 18 please call us at 727-525-0200, while our firm does not provide these documents as one of our services, we would be happy to refer you to an attorney that can.


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