Teenagers who are at the brink of adulthood rarely contemplate end-of-life decisions. However, it is a wise decision to talk to you child about certain planning documents that will help both you and them have some peace of mind about the future.
When a child turns 18, an adult typically loses the right to make medical decisions or manage bank and other accounts on the child’s behalf. This can cause legal battles in the event the child becomes incapacitated. Therefore, putting items in place such as powers of attorney for financial and health care matters is important. According to the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, signing a HIPAA release is also an important part of estate planning for teenagers.
Experts suggest having a conversation with your attorney before approaching your child. You can gather all the necessary documents and get a firm understanding of them.
Next, you should have an open and honest conversation with your 18-year-old, saying things such as the following:
- If something should happen to you, I want to make sure I can help doctors make the right decisions.
- This does not mean I think something bad will happen, it just means we are taking the right steps to prevent legal problems.
- You have the ability to change the names on these documents as you get older and your situation changes.
Once signed, ConsumerReports.org recommends scanning and saving the signed documents to ensure that you have the papers readily available if you need to demonstrate your legal responsibility.
While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.