Your child may graduate from high school and head off to college or start a full-time job or vocational training program.
Although they’re still your children, the law sees them as are adults. As a result, parents’ “rights” to protect their adult children or make decisions for them immediately becomes quite limited.
The Tewksbury Town Crier’s recent article, “Is your child turning 18? Here’s what you need to know,” explains that people often have an estate planning attorney draft the appropriate documents, so they will be legal and binding. Let’s look at a list of Estate Planning documents to consider and discuss with your young adult:
- HIPAA Authorization: if your 18-year-old has a job in another state or will be attending college and needs medical records or assistance making appointments, he or she should have a HIPAA Authorization so that if medical issues arise, parents (or another person of the child’s choosing) can assist with medical issues. Due to HIPAA laws, information can’t be released without the adult child’s permission.
- Advanced Health Care Directive: Have your 18-year old complete an Advanced Health Care Directive nominating someone to make medical decisions for her if she is unable to do so. This is for an emergency, like when the child can’t speak for herself. However, don’t wait for an emergency. If your child is at college, the school will only contact you as the emergency contact, but the Advanced Health Care Directive is between you and the hospital and includes mental health issues. An Advanced Healthcare Directive lets you to participate in life and death decisions, should your child not be able to advocate for herself.
- Durable Power of Attorney: A general durable power of attorney or financial power of attorney should also be signed by the 18-year old, designating his parents, guardians, or others as agents authorized to act on his behalf. This allows the agent access to financial information, so that he can participate in the financial issues with a university or business in the event that the child cannot.
- FERPA: This is an educational records release, which allows the educational institution to share grades, transcripts and other related materials with parents or designated agents. Without it, the school will not provide you with access to any information.
Finally, encourage your young adult family member to register to vote.
Our office prepares Foundational Estate Plans for young adults consisting of the Durable Power of Attorney, Advanced Health Care Directive, and HIPAA Authorization. If you have a child turning 18, please give us a call.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like your plan for safe, problem free, and successful transfer of assets to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to review your estate plan and identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
Reference: Tewksbury Town Crier (December 8, 2019) “Is your child turning 18? Here’s what you need to know”