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Power of attorney is not just for senior citizens

Most people In Oklahoma understand how important it is for their elderly parents to have health care directives in place. They may also encourage their aging family members to assign a durable power of attorney in case they should become disabled and need someone to make important medical or financial decisions for them. However, many overlook the fact that there may be younger people in the family who are in similarly vulnerable positions.

It is not unusual for children to live with their parents beyond their 18th birthdays if they are going to college, saving money for a home or having trouble finding a good job. However, under the law, once a person turns 18, he or she is considered an adult even if claimed as a dependent on parental tax returns. If that young adult should become incapacitated, the parents would have no control over the health or finances of the child without a court order.

In the same way that a health care directive and durable power of attorney can protect one's elderly family members, they may also be an important safeguard for young adults to have in the event of an emergency. A health care directive provides an agent with access to medical records, information about the person's end-of-life preferences and authority to make decisions based on those preferences. A durable power of attorney can be put into effect right away or only in case of emergency, which may require further legal proceedings.

People in Oklahoma may not like to think about their children in trouble. However, preparing for the worst case scenarios may save additional frustration and precious time if an emergency should arise. Those who have teenagers on the cusp of adulthood may consider consulting a lawyer with their questions about power of attorney and health care directive documentation.

Source:, "Two documents every 18 year old should sign", John L. Pfenninger, July 31, 2016

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