Time really does fly by. In the blink of an eye your little one is graduating high school, turning 18, and becoming an adult. There’s so many paths your new adult may choose in life and it’s important to know that once they are legal adults, even if they are still living at home, you lose a lot of legal responsibility for them. Having conversations about new responsibilities may be inevitable if your child is going off to college, but even if your child is still at home, make sure to discuss how their responsibilities change once they are 18. Here are some estate planning documents your graduate needs to consider to protect your child’s well-being and to make sure you stay in the loop.
Power of Attorney
You may have your estate plan completed that includes various powers of attorney, but you probably don’t realize that your adult kids need one as well. While they most likely don’t need a very extensive plan, there are a few documents that are important to protect them and to make sure you are able to access medical information and make decisions for them if necessary.
Power of attorney may be given for your child’s financial matters. If your child is just starting out, he or she most likely doesn’t have many assets. But, having access to his or her financial matters may be helpful for managing his or her finances if necessary for tuition reasons, taxes, or studying abroad, if anything were to happen to your child.
Healthcare Power of Attorney and HIPAA Release
If something were to happen to your child’s health, once he or she is 18, then he or she is deemed an adult. So, you will not be able to access your child’s medical information or make decisions on his or her behalf without an authorization of court’s approval. A healthcare power of attorney is especially important if your child was to become incapacitated and unable to make decisions. Your child, however, can name you to be the one to make their medical decisions if he or she cannot. Along with a healthcare power of attorney, make sure to have a HIPAA release form, which grants you access to your child’s medical information and gives his or her doctor permission to discuss your child’s health condition with you.
While the HIPAA release and healthcare power of attorney grants you access to information and to make decisions, do you know what your child would want if it came time for you to make their medical decisions? No one wants to think about this, and it’s not an easy conversation. But, it’s easier to have the conversation and document it now than to deal with uncertainty if you have to make those decisions yourself and without any guidance. Knowing and documenting this beforehand can help tremendously in a stressful situation as you’ll already know how they would want to be advocated for.
It’s never easy to think about your kids leaving the nest. Make the transition easier knowing you have them protected as best as you can. If you need help obtaining any of these documents or have questions about what your child needs, contact us today. We’re here to help and make sure you have peace of mind through this next chapter of life.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.