Monday, August 17, 2015

Important Reminder: POAs for College-Age Kids

My clients all know how much I stress the importance of everyone having a Power of Attorney (POA), even children once they turn 18.

This is especially important now that it is time for incoming freshmen to start their first semester of college.

What many parents do not realize is that once a child turns 18, they are legally considerend an "adult." Even if the parent of an adult child pays for school or medical bills, personnel from these institutions are not allowed to speak to the parent; only the child.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation: An 18 year old is away at college, and all the bills come to the parents’ house. Should the parents have any questions regarding these bills, they cannot speak with representatives from the college without the express permission of their adult child.

If the student had a POA naming one or both parents as the adult child's Agent or Co-Agents, the parents would have the authority needed to talk to the college about almost anything pertaining to their child.

Another hypothetical situation: you receive an invoice for medical treatment from the college and want to know what happened, and if more treatment is necessary or recommended. What if the child is severely injured or ill, and cannot give permission for the doctors to talk to you? You would then have to seek “Guardianship”, which is a long and expensive process.

Having a POA for your adult child can streamline and simplify many similar situations.

Set up an appointment for your child to sign a POA today, before they leave for school.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Noise Complaints

Nearly everyone has had to put up with a neighbor’s noisy party or the dog down the street that never stops barking.

Although situations like these may seem inevitable, there is something you can do about them when they arise.

At a state-wide level, the Noise Control Act and Noise Control Regulations govern commercial and industrial sources of noise in New Jersey. However, the State leaves the regulation of residential noise and nuisances to more local authorities.

Overall noise enforcement is primarily handled at the county level by that county’s Public Health Department, which investigates noise complaints and issue violations when applicable.

On a day-to-day basis, individual municipalities can enforce their local nuisance codes to handle noise complaints.

New Jersey promulgates a Model Noise Control Ordinance, but not all municipalities use this. Some towns have enacted the model ordinance word-for-word or with just a few minor changes, while others have an entirely different set of ordinances.

Typically, noise restrictions are in place from 8 PM to 8 AM on weekdays and 8 PM to 9 AM on weekends. Exemptions from noise ordinances include fire signals, church bells during services, planes, road noise, trains, emergency sirens, and public celebrations.

Rather than memorizing your local noise ordinances, you should simply call the police if you are being bothered by a noise that you think is excessive. The police are trained to handle local noise disturbances. Once an officer is on site, they will make the determination as to whether the noise is a nuisance. Repeated violations by the same offender may result in a fine.

Additional information on who to call when you have a noise complaint can be found here.