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Nolan Elder Law and Estate Planning, LLC Blog

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Protect Your Adult Child With These Critical Steps

How can I continue to assist my child once he or she turns 18?

No matter how old our children get, we will always be parents.  As such, we will always strive to protect them.  If your child is approaching the age of 18, there are steps you can take to ensure you are in the position to protect your adult child should he or she become seriously ill.   Our Birmingham, Alabama elder law lawyers discuss three vital steps you can take if your child will soon become a legal adult.

From Child to Adult

Up until your child is 18, you, as the parent, have the right to access your child’s medical records and make important medical, financial, and other decisions.  Once your child turns 18, he or she becomes an adult in the eyes of the law.  This means that you will no longer automatically have any authority over his or her medical or financial affairs.  If your child becomes incapacitated or passes away, you could be left in a tough position.  Consider taking the following estate planning steps to protect your adult child:

  1. Execute a Health Care Proxy and HIPPA Release

    Once your child turns 18, you will not have access to your child’s health care records.  Have your child sign a HIPPA release in case your child is ever unable to communicate his or her healthcare wishes.  With a health care proxy and HIPPA release, your child can designate you to make medical decisions if he or she is seriously injured or ill.  This will alleviate the need for you to petition the court to make these critical decisions.

  2. Draft a Durable Power of Attorney< p class="">Parents can no longer access their child’s finances once the child turns 18.  While normally this should not be an issue, if your child is incapacitated, it can leave you powerless.  With a durable power of attorney, you can step in to manage your adult child’s finances should the need arise.
  3. Create a Will

    Young adults with any sort of assets should have a will.  In the event of the unthinkable happening, your child’s assets will go to whomever is named in the will.  A will reduces confusion and uncertainty during a time of tragedy.  

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