As parents, our instinct to protect our children never ends, but at 18 our legal rights to access their protected records does. This goes for medical, financial, and academic records. A parent’s access to these records comes to an abrupt halt, regardless of whether they are still in high school or covered by your health insurance plan. Parents who wish to continue providing support in case of emergency must take action, especially if they are sending a child off to college. To truly navigate your adult child’s future, you must get written consent from your child.
Documents Parents Should Have To Help Their Children Navigate Their Lives…
- Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Healthcare Surrogate
Power of Attorney
Medical Power of Attorney
- It is recommended that young adults sign a medical power of attorney document when they turn 18, which appoints an individual to make health care decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated due to serious injury or illness.
- If an adult child does not have a signed medical power of attorney document in place, their parents could face the costly and time-consuming legal process of securing guardianship rights in court that would enable them to make decisions on their child’s behalf in the event that it became medically necessary.
- Be aware that each state has its own rules governing medical power of attorney documents, and many have their own legal forms. Some also require the signature of a witness or a notary seal.
- If your child is going to college out of state, or simply moving away, it is important to research the documents you need in both your home state and the state where your child will be living either part-time or permanently.
Durable Power of Attorney
Most young adults still need financial and emotional support from their parents, including coverage under their parent’s health and auto insurance plans. Parents would be wise to discuss with their child the need for a durable power of attorney which would enable the parent to handle their child’s financial affairs (pay their student loan bills, make car payments, access their bank accounts, pay taxes) if they were to become incapacitated—or even choose to study abroad.
It’s never easy to contemplate, especially for a parent, but bad things do happen. As such, a living will is an essential part of every adult’s estate plan. A living will, sometimes called an advance directive, specifies personal choices about life-extending medical treatment in the event that you cannot communicate your wishes yourself. A living will is very different from a last will and testament, which clarifies how you want your property and assets distributed after you pass away. By contrast, a living will, as the name implies, clarifies what you want to happen while you are still alive. Here again, an attorney can be instrumental in helping you determine which estate planning documents you and your adult child may need.
The Florida designation of health care surrogate can vary wildly in what authority it grants the health care surrogate. In most circumstances, a health care surrogate is granted authority to make decisions on behalf of the grantor concerning…
- Providing consent to treatment, making decisions about what course of medical treatment should be undertaken
- Providing consent to organ and tissue donation
- Applying for public benefits to defray the cost of health care
- Admission to or transfer from a health care facility
This document can convey limited powers as well. For example, a person could prohibit the health care surrogate form authorizing a blood transfusion if, for example, transfusions are against the person’s religious beliefs. As the grantor, it is up to you to give the health care surrogate as much or as little power as you deem necessary or appropriate for your situation.
Obtaining the signatures you need to provide support in case of emergency can be a great source of relief as your child heads out on their own. It can also be an excellent opportunity to engage in worthy dialogue about goals, concerns, and expectations.
About Estevez Law Group, P.A.
Helping clients with real estate, commercial real estate transactions, residential property purchases and sales, estate planning, and more! Skillful legal representation can simplify complex real estate transactions and solve problems that frustrate all parties involved. At the Estevez Law Group, P.A. our boutique real estate law firm and title agency assists clients with all types of residential and commercial property matters.
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