Time for School – Does Your 18 Year Old Have These Important Estate Planning Documents?

Here in Cache County, Utah, school is officially back in session.  Around the country, many have already started or will be starting back shortly.  I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine entitled “Two Document Every 18 Year Old Should Sign.”   The article is a great reminder that if you have a child who has now turned 18, there are a couple of additional items you should add to your back to school checklist:

  1. A Durable Power of Attorney; and
  2. An Advance Health Care Directive/Medical Power of Attorney

Once a child turns 18, whether they are in high school, college, on a mission or otherwise going abroad, they are legally an adult.  You, as the parent can no longer step in and act on their behalf without legal authorization.

Having these two documents in place will allow you to more easily communicate with schools and medical providers about your adult (yet not-necessarily so grown-up) child.  HIPAA laws will often prevent medical providers from disclosing medical information to you without authorization.  Likewise, educational privacy laws will often do the same.  You may be paying your son or daughter’s tuition, but that does not necessarily give you the right to access their records without their consent.  These documents can also come in handy just to help out if your child is out of the country or there is an unexpected emergency and your child needs you to act on his or her behalf.

So, don’t forget to show-up at the testing center without your No. 2 pencil (do they still use these?) and don’t forget to have proper legal documents in place for your adult children.