The summer is a time for fun and celebrations. Whether it’s friends or family, it seems there is always a wedding, reunion, graduation or something else to celebrate every summer. It’s the good stuff in life. And while I don’t want to ruin the party, I want to share an inquiry I received last week from a client.

Making Medical Decision for Adult Children

I had recently done some estate planning for the couple but this time they were calling about their son who was away at college. Two weeks prior to his college graduation, he was in a serious car accident. After being hospitalized for a couple weeks, he is now moving to a long-term care facility. His parents called because he did not have a financial or medical power of attorney. The parents are running into problems making decisions on their son’s behalf – both financial and medical – and right now their son is not competent to execute any documents on his own behalf. Guardianship is now the only option.

Avoiding the Expense and Frustration of Guardianship

There are many reasons why you want to avoid a guardianship proceeding. A State Superior Court hearing before a Judge is necessary. Medical testimony from at least 2 physicians is required. It is time-consuming, expensive and intrusive. And occasionally, the Guardianship can be contested meaning additional costs, delays, and adversity.

Guardianship proceedings are, thankfully, also very easy to avoid by the execution of a financial as well as a medical Power of Attorney. Every person over the age of 18 should have one of each. This is just one example of many that I could share from my years of experience of why even young adults should have these documents in place. We never know what the future holds for us.

Setting Up Power of Attorney

So, in this season of fun and celebrations, if you have a child 18 or older who may be home from college for the summer, make a point of contacting a qualified estate planning attorney to get these documents in place. Hopefully, none of us will experience a tragedy that will necessitate the need for the use of such documents, but it is an easy step to take that could save any parent the added stress and expense of a court proceeding.