When you think of estate planning, you might picture in your head a last will and testament from someone who’s ninety years old. That, however, is not the case at all (though certainly that is a common document and age range). Estate planning is a young man’s game too, and college kids need a power of attorney the same way someone five decades their senior does.

You should encourage the college-age kids in your life to get a power of attorney. In this article, we’ll discuss what a power of attorney is, as well as why college-age people should have one.

What is a Power of Attorney? 

If you become unable to manage your own affairs due to incapacitation (illness, injury, mental incompetence, etc.), a power of attorney is the person you legally appoint to manage your affairs in your place. Even if you have absolutely no problems on the horizon and are in perfect health, you still should have a power of attorney. There are a few different types of power of attorney. These include general, special, and healthcare. You should also know the term “durable power of attorney.” 

General power of attorney gives a person broad authority to act on your behalf for a wide range of different issues. This type of POA is included in an estate plan most often. The special power of attorney is narrower in scope, and you assign to the special POA only those powers you wish them to have. A healthcare POA makes healthcare decisions for you if you’re too sick or injured to make them. 

Lastly, a durable POA is just a document ensuring that there won’t be any issues in keeping the authority of the general, special, or healthcare power of attorney intact in the event that you’re too incapacitated to make your own decisions. The durable power of attorney can also go into effect if you’re mentally incompetent to handle decision-making, and you can choose the doctor(s) you want to determine your competency to lift the POA. 

Why do college kids need one? 

Estate planning is based on the fact that no one is infallible. It is the best way to prepare for the “what ifs” in life, and college kids are still vulnerable to different types of illnesses and injuries. They certainly aren’t injury- and sickness-proof while they’re away from home. Having a college-age kid sign a power of attorney ensures that kid’s parents will be able to manage their affairs, should the kids become unable to do so. As the kids are 18 and no longer minors, they can pick any adult they trust, related or unrelated. College kids don’t have many assets, but they do have bills, a bank account, and digital accounts that need to be managed if something happens. 

Kids who are in college rarely think anything can happen to them, but, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. It’s important to be prepared, and having a power of attorney is a necessity for anyone who is no longer a minor.