Turning 18 is a big milestone.
Your child is turning 18.
Where has the time gone?
It seems like just yesterday you were holding a sleepy 18-month-old child snuggled to your chest.
Time does fly.
You reared your child to adulthood in the eyes of the law.
You have nurtured, protected, and provided.
According to a recent The National Law Review article titled “Three Critical Legal Documents Every Parent Should Get in Place Now to Safeguard Their Adult Children,” without certain documents in place, you may present yourself powerless to help your child as a young adult.
Take these steps now to be prepared should your child need you in an emergency.
HIPAA is a federal law intended to safeguard your private health information as an adult.
This provides accountability through penalties to healthcare providers who violate the law.
Your child will need to sign this release and name you as an authorized recipient of her medical information.
This allows you to request and receive information about the health of your child and any treatment she is receiving.
This is vital for emergency situations where your child might be unconscious.
Without this authorization, you may be required to go to court to be able to provide care for your child.
Create an Advance Health Care Directive.
An experienced estate planning attorney will help you with this essential legal document.
What does it do?
It allows your child to name you as an agent able to make health care decisions on her behalf should she be unable to do so.
If your child is in an auto accident away from home, you will want to have this authority to talk to the doctors, obtain her medical chart/records, and even transfer her to another hospital closer to home.
Can you name multiple individuals?
While some counsel that it is not wise to name a committee, that is exactly what Gretchen and I did.
Critics hold that too many voices could stonewall treatment and risk precious time.
They recommend appointing individuals in order.
If one person cannot serve in the role or refuses the responsibility, the decision falls to the next listed agent.
While we understand that concern, each family is different.
For example, Gretchen and I trust one another to make the tough calls and, thereafter, for any one of our adult daughters to take care of business.
We did, however, indicate that our preference would be for them to act together if practical, just so one of them would not shoulder the burden alone.
Sign a General Durable Power of Attorney.
Incapacity does not merely impact medical decisions.
Financial action must typically be taken as well.
Bills must be paid.
Tax returns must be filed.
Government benefits may require an application.
A general durable power of attorney is necessary to grant authority act on behalf of your child.
These documents need to be updated every few years.
Also, your child can revoke them at any time.
What if your child is moving to another state?
You may want documents prepared in each of the relevant states.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney provides the greatest protection for your child as she (or he) begins "adulting" full time.
Reference: The National Law Review (February 11, 2019) “Three Critical Legal Documents Every Parent Should Get in Place Now to Safeguard Their Adult Children”