Parents can make medical decisions for their children. After a child reaches the age of 18, however, and is viewed in the eyes of the law as an adult and a parent’s ability to make these decisions ends.
Fortunately, through the use of a few simple estate planning documents, young adults can avoid this situation as well as many others.
# 1 – Financial Power of Attorney
These documents appoint an agent to make a financial decision for a person who becomes incapacitated. These documents should be properly created by children so in case they become incapacitated, a parent can help make financial decisions.
Even though many young adults do not have much in the way of finances, it is often still a wise idea to appoint someone to make financial decisions for a child in case of incapacity.
# 2 – Medical Authorization
Young adults should make sure to properly execute Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPP) authorization. This authorization allows medical professionals to share details of a child’s medical condition with the appointed agent. While many parents decide to authorize a parent under HIPAA to be informed about details, this is not always the case.
In many cases, this authorization is included as one section of a living will, which refers to an estate planning documents that reflect the type of care a child would like to receive in case they become incapacitated.
# 3 – Patient Advocate Designation
A young adult should properly create a patient advocate designation as well as a living will that nominate an agent to make medical decisions for the child in case the child becomes incapacitated. While it is almost always unpleasant for young people to think about the end of their life, it is often necessary to do so to address how end of life situations should be handled.
Living wills frequently details about what type of life-prolonging measures a child would like to receive they are incapacitated.
What Happens without these Documents
If young adults fail to create these documents, parents will be required to file actions to become appointed guardians of a child so the parent can make medical decisions on the child’s behalf. This frequently means that the parent will be required to pay additional expenses as well as gain access to medical records.
It also takes additional time for these legal actions to result in the parent being granted authorization to make these decisions. By creating these documents in advance, a child can help a parent avoid many undesirable consequences.
Speak with a Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer
There is no age at which someone should wait to begin estate planning. Instead, estate planning is valuable no matter how old a person is. Young adults can benefit just as much as anyone else from estate planning.
If you or a loved one needs the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Estate Planning today.