Why is it Important for Young Adults to Get a Power of Attorney After Graduating from High School?

When growing up, we’re used to our parents being there to help take care of us if we get seriously injured.  While our parents may still be there for us, an important event occurs when a person turns 18 – they are considered an adult.

When a person becomes an adult, doctors and other healthcare professionals can no longer discuss medical conditions with the person’s parents unless the person has given consent or unless there is a Power of Attorney in place that allows such communications.  As a result, if a young person becomes severely injured and cannot provide their consent, and if there is not a Power of Attorney in place, this can pose significant issues.

How Powers of Attorney Can Be Critical in Medical Emergencies.

Every year, countless young adults over 18 become incapacitated through accidents or other medical events.  With the stringent HIPAA regulations, hospitals are reluctant to share medical information with families.  When critical decisions need to be made about medical treatment of the young adult, there may be issues about who is authorized to make such decisions.  A Power of Attorney ensures that one or both parents (or the designated representative) can make these decisions.

What Happens if there is No Power of Attorney in Place? Seeking Court Orders, Including Guardianship and Conservatorship

Without a Power of Attorney in place, if an emergency arises and the young adult cannot communicate their wishes, the parents may then need to go to court to be able to get an order to both discuss their child’s condition with the doctors and make healthcare decisions on behalf of their child.

If the medical condition is severe, such that the child may need a parent to oversee their life care and financial conditions on a long-term basis, then the parents may need to seek guardianship (the right to make care decisions) and conservatorship (the right to make financial decisions) for their child.

These court processes can be costly and timely.  For matters such as guardianship and conservatorship, typically getting an appointment takes at least 30 days and often costs around $10,000. Ongoing court oversight is required, and personal financial issues may be public.  These matters can be completely avoided if there is a simple Power of Attorney in place that addresses these matters should such an event occur.

How We Help

At BKBH, we create Powers of Attorney as part of our estate planning process.  We also discuss with clients the importance of having their adult children execute a Power of Attorney, if not having a full estate plan.

Serving Clients Throughout Montana

With offices in Great Falls, Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman, we are available to assist clients near their home.  We are deeply embedded in our communities, and understand the unique challenges our clients face, especially in the agriculturally rich Golden Triangle.

Take the Next Step – Schedule a Consultation with An Experienced Power of Attorney Lawyer.

As life unfolds, ensure you and your loved ones are prepared. Reach out to BKBH for guidance on obtaining a power of attorney tailored to your individual needs.