Estate Planning for your Eighteen Year Old

As she points out in her article titled, Estate Planning for Your Eighteen Year Old: What You Need to do Now May Surprise You, Lauren Keenan Rote points out that becoming an adult comes with certain privacy rights and independence under the law.

An eighteen year old has rights under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and medical professionals will require a release to be signed by your child before sharing his health care information or records with you.

In the event your child is incapacitated, even temporarily, he will be unable to consent to you accessing his vital health records or authorize you to make decisions on his behalf. Without Medical Powers of Attorney and General Durable Powers of Attorney for Property, you will likely find that you are unable to act on your child’s behalf and that court intervention is required for you to do so.

There are two critical documents any individual over the age of eighteen should have:

  1. Medical Power of Attorney – This document appoints an agent to make health care decisions, including end-of-life care decisions, on your child’s behalf. This document should include a HIPAA release authorizing the agent to access important health records.
  2. General Durable Power of Attorney for Property – This document appoints an agent to handle financial transactions on your child’s behalf. This includes transactions involving bank accounts, scholarship funds from school and rental agreements.

Consult your estate planning attorney for further information.

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