What a Swell Graduation Present!

Many of you have children graduating from high school within a few months. Soon they will be turning 19 and will be considered, under the eyes of the law at least, to be ADULTS. Regardless of how they behave, the law at least considers them to be fully capable of making their own decisions. What does this mean to you, their loving, doting parent?

I am glad you asked because it means that you, who have been making every single medical decision for your child for the last nineteen years, will no longer be making those decisions!

This comes as a shock to many parents, especially considering that they will be on your health insurance for many years to come. You don’t get to make decisions for them any longer though, and this can be a problem. Let me tell you a story:

A client whose daughter was at Auburn heard that she was in the ER in Auburn, so he rushed down there. When he arrived, he asked where she was and what her condition might be. The nurse there told him that her condition was protected under HIPAA. He said he was her father. The nurse said she was over 19. He said that he paid her insurance. The nurse said that didn’t matter.

The easiest way to avoid this sort of delay and conflict is to have your child execute a couple of simple documents, The Alabama Advance Directive for Healthcare and a HIPAA waiver. He or she has relied on you to make medical decisions until now; why wouldn’t your child sign this? With these two documents, you will be able to continue making medical decisions for your child, regardless of how old they might become.

Call us if we can help you get these in place. They aren’t expensive but they are certainly convenient when the time comes!

William G. Nolan

Attorney at Law

Nolan Elder Law and Estate Planning LLC


In accordance with Alabama Bar requirements, no representation is made that the quality of legal services is greater than the legal services performed by other lawyers. ARPC 7.2(e)