We forget that our college-aged children are now adults and may need in-depth financial advice. Parents are no longer legally able to make financial decisions on the behalf of their children. Therefore it's also important that children appoint someone who can be trusted to make financial and medical decisions for them in case of incapacity.
Parents will want to be in the position of having their input allowed regarding such circumstances. However, without the proper documentation the ability to access financial or medical records is not guaranteed.
One Texas attorney speaks of clients that were unable to learn about the medical conditions of their college-aged children following a car accident. The two sons of these parents were at that point unconscious and being held at a hospital. One other parent had to sue to become the legal guardian of a daughter who was in a coma.
Some estate planning attorneys may suggest to parents to urge their adult children to draft all of the basic documents. Documents should at least be available to parents concerning the making of medical decisions on behalf of their children in event of an emergency.
Financial power of attorney documents can also be essential to have prepared. Documents can be prepared in such a manner that allows parent access to financial records - even if the adult child is competent.
Every instance is unique concerning estate planning and needs to be treated differently. Please do speak to an experienced estate planning attorney regarding your family's individual circumstances before going ahead and preparing legal documentation.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Why Your College-Age Children Need an Estate Plan," Anne Tergesen, Sep. 21, 2013