DPAs
By Thomas V. Trainer

Sending your child off to college or out into the working world is a proud yet nerve-wracking experience. Your 18 year-old is legally an adult, but he or she is still your baby. However, because your child is an adult, you can no longer make decisions on his or her behalf simply because you are the parent.

Your child should sign powers of attorney to handle emergency health care and financial matters. Powers of attorney are documents that name “agents” to act on a person’s behalf if that person becomes unable to take actions due to illness, disability or absence. In Michigan, we have two types of powers of attorney: one is for medical purposes, usually called a “Patient Advocate Designation” or “Medical Power of Attorney,” and the other is for financial matters, usually called a “Durable Power of Attorney.”

Without powers of attorney, a parent cannot get medical information about one’s child, access accounts or transfer vehicle titles. To gain these rights, someone will need to go to probate court to have a guardian or conservator appointed for the young adult. This will take up precious time and money during an already difficult situation.

This topic also raises the question: do you have your own powers of attorney? If your answer is yes, then make sure your children are aware of who will make decisions in an emergency. If your answer is no, then consider getting them done soon.

With luck, having appropriate powers of attorney in place will be just like remembering to take your umbrella when you go outside. If you have your umbrella, it probably won’t rain. However, if it does, you’ll have the protection you need.


For further information regarding these matters, please contact Mr. Trainer at 248.740.5673 or via email.