Congratulations on your child’s recent high school graduation! Your graduate deserves acknowledgement for their hard work and the achievements they earned, but let’s not overlook the tremendous role that you, as a loved one, played in their success. Without your support and guidance, they most likely would not have reached this educational milestone.
You’ve shared your wisdom and advice, helped them plan their future course. Now it’s time for your child to embark upon their next journey in life: work or continued education. Before you turn your new “adult” out into the world, there is one last thing you should help them complete when they turn 18: estate planning. While you may not think 18 year olds need estate planning, there are three basic documents which every young adult needs:
1. Durable General Power of Attorney
The first necessary component of a young adult’s plan is a durable general power of attorney. Through a durable general power of attorney, your teen designates someone to make business and financial decisions. The durable general power of attorney can be set up as either “springing” or “non-springing”. A “springing” durable general power of attorney becomes effective only if your child becomes incapacitated; at that time it “springs” into action. Should your child be involved in an accident or suffer an illness and be unable to pay their rent or other bills, their appointed agent could make those payments and communicate with financial institutions and school officials until such time as he or she recovers.
A “non-springing” durable general power of attorney is effective as soon as it is signed. This document might be necessary if you have a child going to school in another country or far out of state. That child is not unable to handle their own matters, but, nonetheless, might need you to assist with some of their affairs for them while they are so far away from home.
2. Health Care Power of Attorney
A Health Care Power of Attorney is the second document recommended for all young adults. This document allows the young adult to name a person (a/k/a agent) to make medical decisions for them if they are unable to make such decisions themselves. The agent will work with doctors and other health care providers to provide the young adult with the care that they would want. Once the patient regains their capacity, the young adult can simply go back to making their own healthcare decisions. Many young adults move away from home to work or attend school where they no longer have a relationship with local physicians. By having a health care power of attorney in place when an emergency arises, the young adult’s agent can immediately begin consultation with the treating physician and avoid delay in treatment due to legal red tape with the hospital.
3. HIPAA Release
Imagine your young adult child has been involved in an accident in a city hours away from home and you have no way to obtain information on his or her condition. A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) release is the answer to that concern. A HIPAA release allows medical personnel to release information about the patient’s location and condition to specified individuals. Without such a release, parents may face obstacles to even determine whether their child has been admitted to the hospital. This document only allows for the release of information. It does not grant power or consent to an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the young adult.
During the month of August, we will be offering a discount on Springing Durable General Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney and HIPAA Authorizations for young adults ages 18-25. For more information on our August discount on estate planning for young adults, contact Davis & McCann, P. A., Dodge City, KS. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). We focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate Transactions, and related matters.
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