Being a clerk in the personal injury department of a busy law firm has opened my eyes to many situations that, thankfully, I have not encountered in my personal life. These insights have given me valuable wisdom that I will be grateful for in an emergency. I pass this knowledge along in hopes of saving others the grief and headaches of being faced with these events that they may not know how to deal with.
The most recent shocking revelation I faced was the issue of when young-adults have not defined their power of attorney. For many of us, our 18-year-old is still a kid in our eyes. We are often paying for their school, their food, their clothes, and the majority of their lives. Although they are no longer our innocent babies, they have often not fully embraced adulthood and are thus, not independent.
However, in the eyes of the law and medicine, once your child turns 18, they are considered an adult.
This was a shocking revelation that both myself and a client had when a family was faced with a seriously injured 18-year-old.
At the law firm, we typically only draft power of attorney documents for middle age or older persons. People usually go through this process once they are established and are looking for legal support to ensure that in the event something happens to them their wellbeing and assets are protected.
In case you are unaware, power of attorneys– also known as POA’s, are appointed patrons that step in and help make decisions when the injured or ill person is not able.
Thus, POA’s are extremely important documents to have in place at any age, as you want to ensure you are taken care of in an emergency situation. Yet, young people rarely undergo the POA process which is extremely negligent– especially when you look at the facts.
Statistically, 18-24-year-old’s are more likely to be in a car accident and typically engage in higher-risk activities than their elder counterparts. The reality that they are higher-risk places the odds of them needing the assistance of a substitute decision-maker even higher.
The majority of young people whom we speak to do not have, nor are interested in appointing powers of attorney’s. This is understandable given that they are young and feel invincible.
However, this lack of foresight could put their parents in a difficult situation.
The medical community does not see, nor will treat your 18-year-old as a kid– regardless of how you think of them. In the unfortunate circumstance that your 18-year-old is injured in a car accident, sporting activity, or vacation mishap you may believe that you can rush to their side at the hospital and start making decisions on their behalf. However, this is not necessarily the case if your child has not named you as their power of attorney for personal care.
In the event that this horrible situation happens, you may be forced to go before a judge and apply to be appointed their legal guardian and granted the right to make decisions.
Save yourself this headache and ensure that your adult child has their powers of attorney drawn up when they turn 18– especially before they engage in spring break shenanigans which often have unintended consequences.
Give your child a “Welcome to Adulthood” present for their 18th birthday and give yourself some peace of mind!
Give them the gift of a pre-paid power of attorney document package from Millars Law today!
Contact us at (519) 657-1LAW or Info@millarslaw.com
By: Shari Lamore