Three Documents You Need When Your Son or Daughter Turns 18
By Marcus Seiter
As you probably know, most states have laws that teens come “of age” at 18. This means that even though you are Mom or Dad, your child is considered a legal adult and you will no longer have the same rights to access to his or her medical and financial records.
For many parents, this may be a worrisome reality. Many kids are very immature or uniformed when it comes to making major medical and financial decisions. They may also lack the discipline necessary for credit cards and spending. So what is a parent to do? Contact your Estate Planning Professional and work with your son or daughter on the following documents:
- Medical Power of Attorney & Living Will
A Medical Power of Attorney means that your son or daughter can designate you as his or her healthcare representative should they become severely ill or incapacitated. Be sure that if he or she is attending collage out of state that the documents are drawn up by a professional in that state. The Medical Power of Attorney should also be partnered with a Living Will, which applies if he or she becomes terminally ill or permanently unconscious or another similar condition as defined by that state’s law. This gives parents peace of mind during a difficult or extremely stressful time.
- Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney allows your son or daughter to choose you to act in their place should they become mentally or physically incapacitated. The difference between this document and other powers of attorney is its broader scope and the fact that it is in place until the signer’s death (or it is rescinded).
- HIPAA Release
Another document, which is usually supplied by your doctor’s office, is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Release. This maintains your son or daughter’s medical privacy and unless you are designated on this form, you may not be entitled to information about your child’s medical diagnosis or prognosis. Therefore, you’ll want to discuss adding your name to this form as well.
With these documents in place, you can send your child off to college, to their new job or even to travel the world knowing you have indeed done all you can to protect and to prepare them for the challenges and rewards that lay ahead for them.