Before You Send Your Teens to College, Make Sure They Sign a POA Form
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Before You Send Your Teens to College, Make Sure They Sign a POA Form

College bound teens are typically legal adults, meaning parents might not have a say when a medical crisis happens. A medical power of attorney gives them help in staying informed and make decisions in emergencies.

As parent’s their job is never done, but things get more complex when their teens are off to college. A lot of those going to college are no longer minors and are legal adults, meaning parents no longer have the authority to make decisions for them. That can pose a problem in medical emergencies.

That is the reason why parents are progressively considering having their college bound teens sign medical power of attorney documents. With luck, neither of you are ever going to use this, but it can still offer peace of mind.

What Is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) designates a capable adult to make important decisions on behalf of another adult if doctors deem they are no longer able to make those decisions for on their own.

Medical powers of attorney produces that right specifically for making health care decisions. It provides the designated individual (referred to as the agent) additional rights than a living will is going to, since a living will is only applied when the time comes to make end-of-life decisions.

Hospital’s legal departments are mindful of their legal obligations. They might not allow you to make decisions on behalf of a debilitated younger adult, even when you prove you’re their parent. If your child does not have a spouse, doctors that don’t know your family might end up making vital decisions for you.

It could get worse. When a young adult is debilitated in the long term not having a power of attorney, parents are going to have to go to court and petition for guardianship—the legal right to make medical decisions for their child.

Is a Durable Power of Attorney a Better Choice?

Emergencies can happen to anyone, but a durable power of attorney is even more vital if they have a chronic ailment like diabetes or heart disease. That’s particularly true since college students aren’t known for taking care of their health.

It can also offer the chance to put any limitations on care required by your family’s spiritual or cultural practices.

When Your College Student Is Out of State

You might be think about in which state to have POA for an out of state college student. Daubable power of attorney documents only applies in the state in which it was created—so if your concerned are about what could happen at college, you should at least acquire power of attorney for the other state.

It is suggested devising one for each state since it’s not unusual for hospitals to discharge severely injured individuals into a long-term or rehabilitative care facility. Parents are going to want to be close to that facility, meaning they are going to need decision-making authority at home.

Setting up College Power of Attorney

In a lot of states, creating a medical power of attorney for college students is as easy as filling out a form that requires names, contact details, signatures of everyone involved, and what powers the student is appointing. You don’t necessarily have to use this form, but it’s a good idea since it’s the standard, meaning hospital’s legal departments are most likely to take it. Some states necessitate the signature(s) of witness(s) or a notary public.

The procedure might be somewhat different if your student is under eighteen when you create a medical power of attorney. In that situation, the parent(s) have decision-making power until the student is eighteen but may want to appoint it to a local family member or trusted friend.

For using your POA, take it to the hospital in which it’s needed; a doctor or hospital’s legal department is going to usually review it. It’s a good idea if it is on file with your child’s medical provider—in which is usually the college—in advance making it easier to locate you should an emergency happen.

Explaining Power of Attorney to Young Adults

Young adults that are anxious for their independence might dispute a request to sign a college power of attorney, thinking they aren’t really going to need it, or you are attempting to control them.

But due to the fact that a medical power of attorney is only going to go into effect after doctors declare that the student is unable make decisions their own, it gives parents no authority unless there’s an emergency. Under a typical situation, students retain their privacy and freedom. You are also able write in beginning and ending dates to assure your child that this is a limited power of attorney for college.

Don’t forget, the health care power of attorney is only carried out when your student can’t make a decision on their own. It doesn’t mean their parents or anyone that is listed as the POA can acquire that information without the student meeting that medical criterion


  1. Laird, L. (2022, May 2). Before you send your kids to college, make sure they sign a power of attorney form. LegalZoom. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from

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