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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

Legal Planning for Young Adults

POSTED ON: April 9, 2018

Once your child turns 18 years of age they’re no longer considered a child in the eyes of the law. That means that you, as a parent, no longer have the legal right to access their healthcare, school, or banking information without their permission. But just because a child turns 18 doesn’t mean they’re ready to face the world alone. They still need you to be their backup in case of emergencies. There are steps you should take to ensure their safety as well as your peace of mind.

Create a health care proxy and a living will. A health care proxy is a document that specifies who your child chooses as the person (agent) allowed to make medical decisions for them in case they’re in a situation where they aren’t able to communicate their wishes. A living will works in conjunction with a health care proxy by expressing your child’s wishes as to how their designated agent should proceed in specific circumstances such as how and when they wish to receive medical treatment in the event of a terminal illness. Once your child is officially an adult, you need these documents to allow you to make medical decisions for them in case they become incapacitated. This is essential in case of an emergency. They will also need to sign a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) form that allows medical professionals to share information with you.

Create a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows your child to name the person they would trust to make financial decisions if they are unable to do so. As the designated agent, this would allow you to sign legal paperwork for your child like a financial aid document, a federal or state income tax return, and even a lease in your child’s absence.

Use a Medical ID app on your child’s phone for cases of emergency. With apps like Medical ID, essential medical information like allergies and medical conditions as well as emergency contact information can be accessed by an emergency responder even if a phone is locked. Medical ID can quickly and easily be set up on an iPhone or Android device. Directions are at http://bit.ly/2FYG5LC. ICE Medical Standard is a similar app for iPhones at https://apple.co/2GDFrTN.

For more information on protecting your family, contact us at mkarr@maheritagelawcenter.com or 617.299.6976 to schedule a time for us to sit down and identify the best ways for you to ensure the security of your loved ones.