When we think of estate planning, we often fail to think about establishing any documents for young adults. After all, they probably don’t have an estate. But once your child reaches the age of 18, there are a few things to bear in mind. At 18 your child is considered an adult and therefore you are no longer granted access to their medical records, you are no longer automatically allowed to make medical decisions for them, and you are no longer entitled to remain apprised of their grades in college.
While we never want to consider that our children could ever become incapacitated – and we pray that they won’t – it’s in their best interest to ensure that they have the proper incapacity documents. These documents include the following:
1. Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
A durable power of attorney for finances allows the individual who is designated as an agent to manage accounts and make financial decisions in the event that a child becomes unable to do so either because of incapacitation or if the child is studying abroad. This document can also be important when parents must sign financial documents on behalf of their children but are located far away.
2. California Statutory Power of Attorney
The next document that’s really important to have is a California statutory power of attorney. This is recognized by most financial institutions. It’s important to note that since it doesn’t cover everything it could also be beneficial to add on another document, such as an expanded durable power of attorney that can be very customized.
3. HIPAA Authorization for Release of Information
Another document that can be very helpful is a HIPAA authorization for release of information, which enables you to receive medical information about your child. Without this form signed by your child, you are not entitled to know about their condition. In fact, if your child is injured, you’re not even allowed to be informed that they are in the hospital. However, if you have a signed release, you can present it to the medical facility and they will then be allowed to share information with you.
4. California Advance Health Care Directive
Finally, the last document that can prove very helpful for young people is the California Advance Health Care Directive. This document enables the agent to make medical decisions for the individual who signed it should that person become incapacitated. Therefore if your child was to become injured and incapacitated, you would have the right to make medical decisions on their behalf. It also allows the agent to decide whether or not to prolong life if the individual would require medical intervention and whether or not the individual would be an organ donor.
Biddle Law Can Help
If your child is 18 years of age or older and you and they want to establish an estate plan, a knowledgeable and experienced California estate planning attorney can help.
At Biddle Law, we are here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the process. We care about you and your loved ones and want to help in any way we can. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!