Important Legal Documents for Your 18 Year Old

Congratulations! Your child has likely just graduated (or will be graduating soon) from high school! In such an unsettling time, this is certainly something worth celebrating.

As the parents of graduating seniors, many of your children may be planning to continue their educations at college this coming fall. Others may be pursuing different avenues including technical school or the armed forces. And, some may have already obtained employment and are entering the working world.

Whichever path your child selects, the fact remains that he or she has turned (or will soon be turning) 18 and will be an adult in the eyes of the law. The medical and financial decisions you have been helping make for the past 18 years are now legally your child’s to make. Additionally, information regarding those decisions are private; you will not have access to it.

As parents, you know that turning 18 does not magically make you an adult. Many of our children still need our guidance and assistance as they continue to grow and learn. And, having access to certain information can be critical.

Necessary Legal Documents for College Students

To ensure your access to information and to maintain your ability to help make decisions with your child, consider executing the following legal documents.

HIPAA Authorization Form

In completing this document, your child will designate specific people (parents or guardians) to receive medical information with regard to his or her treatment Effectively, this document authorizes doctors and nurses (healthcare providers) to speak with the individuals specified on behalf of the patient. Without this document, these professionals are unable to share any information regarding your child’s health with you, even if they are hospitalized and are unable to communicate.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This critical document affords your child the ability to name you or another family member as their “medical agent”. As such, if your child becomes legally incapacitated for any reason, you will have the power to make medical decisions for him or her. You would be the health proxy 

Durable Power of Attorney

Completing a durable power of attorney allows your child to designate you to make legal and financial decisions on his or her behalf. Issues that you would be able to assist with could include, but are not limited to, paying bills, signing tax documents, changing financial aid, signing a lease and more.

It is Time to Plan for the Class of 2020

Now that school has ended and graduation has passed, you are likely planning for the upcoming fall semester. When you are making your list of things to do before you child leaves for college, include the execution of these documents. It is wise to do them now and have them notarized and stored in a safe place.

Your child should bring the originals of these documents to school and leave a copy of them all with you, their parent or guardian. Taking these steps help ensure your bases are covered when your child turns 18.

If you have not updated your estate planning documents (including your will) in the last three to five years or do not have any of the necessary documents in place, contact us today at 561-447-6676. We are ready to provide legal advice and answer any questions you may have. 

Since 2002, Lisa I. Glassman, PA has been providing outstanding legal counsel throughout South Florida. The firm has offices in Boca Raton, Lighthouse Point, Aventura and Weston. We skillfully handle Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts Probate matters and Real Estate law for our clients. Since 2002, we have provided outstanding advice and advocacy and will continue to do so.