Does your adult child really need estate planning?


The simple answer to this question is a resounding "yes." Once your child turned 18, he or she became an adult in the eyes of the law, even though you may still see them as your child. Legally, you no longer have access to certain information about your child.

For instance, if they suffer an illness or injuries, you do not automatically have the right to know anything about your child's care. You also may not have the right to make any health care or financial decisions on his or her behalf. Without the proper estate-planning documents in place, you could end up in court to gain the permission you need, but that takes valuable time and resources.

What documentation does your child need?

To make sure that you can help your adult child should the need arise, they need the following estate planning documents in place:

  • A HIPAA Authorization Form gives you the right to information regarding your child's medical condition if the need arises. This form gives you access to information about their condition, treatment, diagnosis and prognosis.
  • A health care proxy, or medical power of attorney, gives you the right to make decisions for your child if they cannot do so instead of leaving all of the decisions to medical personnel who, while skilled, do not know your child as well you do. Being designated as your child's agent allows you to save precious time that could make the difference in his or her care.
  • A durable power of attorney allows you to make financial decisions for your child if they cannot make those decisions. This does not necessarily have to come into play during a crisis since you could also use it while your child is away for an extended period of time.

These documents may constitute a crucial part of an estate plan for a new adult. However, you and your child's circumstances may require others as well.

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