You may be surprised to realize that many tasks you handled for your child as they grew, such as making medical and financial decisions on their behalf, are no longer under your control now that your child has reached age 18.
So, before your adult child heads to college, it might be wise to consider having them execute certain estate planning documents so you can assist your adult child should they become seriously ill or otherwise incapacitated.
Health care power of attorney for young adults
Young adults will want to consider executing a health care power of attorney. They can name their parent as their agent in this document. As an agent, their parent will be granted the authority to make health care decisions on the young adult’s behalf if the young adult is seriously ill or injured and cannot communicate their own care wishes or make their own medical decisions.
HIPPA release for young adults
Many of us have already heard of the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA). Under this act, a person’s medical records are kept private and can only be released to those who sign a HIPPA release allowing a third party to access this information. Young adults who choose their parents to serve as their health care power of attorney might also consider signing a HIPPA release allowing their parent to access their health records when necessary.
Financial power of attorney for young adults
A serious injury or illness could cause a young adult to be unable to manage their finances, as well as their medical care. A financial power of attorney is similar to a medical power of attorney, in that it allows a named agent to handle the affairs of an incapacitated individual. Young adults can execute a financial power of attorney naming their parent as their agent, in the event that they become physically or mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs.
Protecting your young adult
Your child might now be an adult, but it is good to recognize that adults of any age should have a basic estate plan in place. Estate planning includes planning for potential incapacity. A health care power of attorney, HIPPA release and financial power of attorney can benefit any young adult as they step out into the world on their own.