*This blog was originally published on 12/2/21 and was updated 5/25/23.
Do you have the authority to help your adult child in the case of an emergency?
At the age of 18, your child becomes an adult in the eyes of the law and you no longer have the power to make financial, medical, or educational decisions for them. What if they are in an accident and need medical attention? What if they need a little more guidance on choices during their college career? These are events in life that you, as the parent, can no longer legally take control of or have access to. It certainly does not mean your parenting role ends—it only gets a bit more complicated. There are numerous legal implications for your child to consider now, but you can help them navigate the murky waters of adulthood. To protect their interests and continue to be an informed parent, talk to your young adult about completing these three key documents.
Financial Durable Power of Attorney
In the event that you need to conduct any financial business on behalf of your child or access their financial records, you will need to be named as an agent in a Financial Power of Attorney. This will allow you or another named individual the ability to write checks, contact creditors, make investments or conduct other financial business.
HIPAA Release & Power of Attorney for Health Care
As an adult, your child’s medical records are protected by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act). While signing a HIPAA release form gives you access to your child’s medical records, a Power of Attorney provides you with the ability to make medical decisions if they are unable to do so.
Educational Records Release
Students 18 and older need to provide written consent to allow parents access to their educational records. This will not only allow you the ability to be involved in their academic experience, but you can ensure the financial aid documents are complete and in place as well.
Have more questions about setting up these legal documents? Or interested in a consultation to discuss all elements of your (and your family’s) financial picture? Click here to contact us now.
Want to learn more?
Here are a few more resources to answer your legal questions…
Three Important Steps to Take When Your Child Turns 18 – www.nolo.com
4 forms you need when your child turns 18 – MassMutual.com
Two Documents Every 18-Year-Old Should Sign – Forbes.com
May 2023 Update – Young Adult Advance Directives Package:
Need more resources on how to ensure your child is protected? Applegate & Dillman’s Young Adult Advance Directives package gives parents authority and information to protect their adult child’s health and financial well-being with just three essential documents. “Without legal documents, you can no longer access [your child’s] medical records or make decisions on their behalf in case of an emergency. This can result in delays in receiving necessary medical care and could lead to decisions that are contrary to your child’s wishes or best interests… With Applegate & Dillman’s Young Adult Advance Directives package, you can ensure your child is fully supported no matter the circumstance.”
This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.