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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

Taking Care of Your Older Kids

POSTED ON: June 11, 2018

Summer is coming and soon your 18-year-old (or even older child) will be enjoying lots of activities with friends and possibly even doing some travel. But once your kids turn 18, as parents you no longer have the legal authority to make health care decisions or manage money for them. So, if your young adult is in an accident and becomes disabled, even for a short period of time, you might need court approval to act on their behalf. If your child gets sick, the hospital can refuse to discuss your child’s condition with you citing privacy rules. To avoid these scenarios, a few simple estate planning documents are necessary for your freshly-minted adult.

Health Care Proxy
This document allows your child to specify you as an agent allowed to make medical decisions for them in case they’re in a situation where they aren’t able to communicate their wishes. That way, doctors will take your direction without the need for court approval.

Living Will
This document 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.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Power
Your child can use this form to indicate that medical professionals can share information with you.

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.

Durable Power of Attorney. A durable power of attorney allows your child to name you as the person they would trust to make financial decisions for them 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.

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.