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Two things you need to talk to your college student about today

It won't be long before college freshmen will be returning home for winter break with one full semester under their belts. In all the excitement of getting your son or daughter ready for college, there are two very important things that you probably neglected to discuss: financial and medical powers of attorney (POA).

While it may seem hard to believe, your child is a young adult now. Once your child reaches the age of 18, you no longer have the ability to step in and handle things for them -- even in an emergency. Just like any other adult, your son or daughter needs to formally designate someone to handle their affairs if there's some reason they can't manage them. A POA document can do this.

It's not pleasant to think about the possibility of your child being in an accident that leaves them unable to communicate their wishes. It's even worse, however, to think that you might be forced to go to court in order to get approval to act on your child's behalf until he or she recovers.

Even if your child isn't in a serious accident, a medical POA could be invaluable. For example, if your child becomes ill for some reason, you have no automatic right -- even as the parent -- to discuss your child's medical condition or treatment with the doctors or hospital in charge of your child's care. Having a financial POA could also prove invaluable in numerous situations -- including ones where your child is merely stuck out of town and unable to attend to important financial matters.

When your child is home on break, sit them down and discuss the reason behind your request for the documents and make sure that your child understands that you only need them for emergencies (and won't use them to pry). If your child agrees to give you POAs, a Colorado estate planning attorney can help you properly execute the documents.

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