Whether or not your 18-year-old is college-bound, military-bound, or career bound, they are all considered adults in the eyes of the law. What does this mean? It means that you, as their parent, no longer have the right to sit in on doctor appointments, get information about their health or well-being over the phone or even get a status report from a hospital in the event of an accident. In the eyes of the law, once you turn 18, you are an adult, and your health and medical records are protected. It doesn’t seem so bad as an 18-year-old, but from my experience, 18 is a very young age, and there were many times that I looked to my parents for guidance or just to hold my hand while I learned to make decisions as an adult.
Before your young adult heads off into the world, you may want to think about getting some legal documents in place to make a potentially stressful situation less difficult. This doesn’t always apply to everyone, but think about how many times you have had to help out your child with a broken limb, anxiety, stitches, or concussion; the list is endless! But once they are 18, it becomes more difficult to be there for them. By executing legal documents such as the health care proxy, HIPAA authorization, and durable power of attorney, you and your young adult child will have peace of mind that you will be there for them if they have an accident or injury.
I remember playing sports in college and having to go to the emergency room because I got hit in the hand with a field hockey stick. It turned out that nothing was broken, but I can only imagine the stress my parents would have if it were a concussion or something where I wasn’t able to communicate with them. I also have friends who have kids with lots of anxiety, some so extreme that they’ve had to leave work to help them out. Going off to college or the military can bring up anxious feelings, sometimes they can be so overwhelming that it’s more than they can handle on their own. As a parent, I would never want my child to feel that they are alone when they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or even depressed.
I’ve even found that even thinking about these documents as a high school senior or college student can cause anxiety. They are adults in the eyes of the law, but their brains are still developing (for another seven years!), and it’s probably their first exposure to signing something as an adult. Therefore, we have tried to make this process as easy as possible for them. We’ve developed a way to explain the three recommended documents, the health care proxy, the HIPAA release, and the durable power of attorney via a prerecorded webinar, we give them an opportunity to ask the attorney questions (either with or without their parents), and we have a quick signing process. The webinar is less than half an hour, and the document signing is also less than 10 minutes.
So if you have concerns about your kid’s health when they go off to college, the military, or to travel the world, please check out our website at https://ladimerlaw.com/essentialdocs/ or contact our office at 508.532.8689. We are here to help make the transition from living at home to being on their own a little less stressful!
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Ladimer Law specializes in estate planning. We protect our clients, their heirs, and their assets by listening closely, knowing the law, and executing estate plans that fit and evolve.