How Does a Power of Attorney Change When Someone Reaches 18?

Many young people look forward to turning 18 and entering into adulthood. Once they reach the age of majority, they are now legally able to vote, marry, apply for a credit card, live independently, and make financial and medical decisions. But what happens if someone reaches 18 and is injured in an accident, requiring somebody else to make medical decisions for them? Unfortunately, this is a question that many parents must encounter when their children suffer an injury in an accident.

If a guardian is needed, as a parent you are not automatically granted the right to make these decisions. Heaven forbid you should find yourself in that situation, you would be facing expensive and lengthy court proceedings. But if you have an Advance Healthcare Directive in California, you can bypass such aggravation.

Gaining Access and Planning Ahead

It’s important to understand that once your child reaches 18 years of age, you will no longer be able to gain access to their bank accounts for purposes of financial or legal matters. He or she would have to have made you an agent in a financial power of attorney. It is irrelevant as to whether or not you are paying for anything for your child. For instance, even if you are the one paying for your child’s college education, the school will not release educational records without him or her first signing a FERPA disclosure.

When your child is approaching the age of 18, it’s a good idea to speak to him or her regarding all of the new things that he or she will legally be able to do. You should talk to them about securing a copy of their birth certificate and social security card, and registering to vote. But you should also talk to them about financial and medical powers of attorney. Powers of attorney can be invaluable at a time when your child needs you the most. Just by planning for such a situation, you can avoid the costs and stress associated with having to undergo court proceedings at a time when you are already dealing with so much.

Biddle Law Can Help

It’s never easy to talk about the worst-case scenarios. However, it is extremely important that you do this in order to protect your child and what is in his or her best interest should such a situation occur. This is one part of a comprehensive estate plan that can help you and your loved ones. This is why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced California probate attorney who knows the current laws and has experience dealing with such important estate planning documents.

At Biddle Law, we are here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the entire process. We care about you and your loved ones and want to help in any way we can. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!