September 18, 2017
Key Documents for Young Adults — What Legal Documents Do You Need to Suggest Your Child Execute Now?
Your teenager is now a young adult. It is difficult to believe, and you wonder how the years flew by in the blink of an eye. As you assist your child on his or her desire to attend college, begin a career, or proudly serve our country in the military, you need to discuss estate planning with your young adult. Many young adults lack any basic estate planning documents that they need as they begin this new phase in their lives. While they may not own a home or other substantial assets and they may not be married or have children, there are legal documents every adult should have in place to protect themselves and their assets.
It is certainly something that is not easy for parents to think about as their child turns 18 years old. However, parents should urge their young adults to take steps to ensure someone has the authority to make crucial health care and financial decisions for them if they cannot do so for any reason. Having key legal documents in place in the event of a tragic accident or illness that results in incapacitation or death can ensure the young adult’s wishes are known, and someone has the authority to carry out those wishes.
Below are some key legal documents our Michigan estate planning lawyer
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney (Medical POA) may also be referred to as a Health Care Power of Attorney. The Medical POA allows the grantor to name another individual to make health care decisions for the grantor if the grantor is unable to communicate his or her wishes or make medical decisions.
For a young adult, turning 18 years of age means he or she is in control of health care decisions. It is important for your child to name a trusted person to make medical decisions who understands his wishes and will act in his best interest.
A HIPAA Release or HIPAA Authorization may be included in the Medical POA. However, to be absolutely sure that you can access your child’s medical records, you may want to urge your young adult to sign a HIPAA Release. The release is a “permission slip” for health care providers to disclose information to you for your child who is now of legal age and entitled to confidentiality.
If your young adult has reservations about allowing you to have access to all medical records, this hesitation can be taken care of in the HIPAA Release. The release can be drafted to allow disclosure of health care information except for information specifically prohibited by the release (i.e. drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, etc.).
Financial Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney (Financial POA) is much like a Medical POA, but the Financial POA gives a person the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the grantor. The Financial POA allows a person to open accounts, pay bills, transfer assets, and transact other business for the grantor. This can be very important for a young adult who wishes to study abroad, join the military, or travel with a job.
It is wise to include language that makes the Financial POA “durable.” “Durable” means that the authority granted within the document continues in full force and effect even though the grantor could become incapacitated and could not make decisions for himself or herself.
Advance Health Care Directive
Also known as a Living Will, an Advance Directive allows the young adult to make decisions regarding life-sustaining medical treatment and end-of-life decisions. It may be uncomfortable to consider, but your child may not want life-prolonging treatments, including artificial hydration and nutrition if he or she is terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
It is every adult’s right to decide how he or she wants to face these decisions. A Living Will keeps the decisions in the young adult’s hands. It can also relieve a loved one’s stress and anxiety about deciding to withhold this type of medical care.
Get Help from a Michigan Estate Planning Lawyer
The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA assists individuals of all ages plan for the future through retirement planning, estate planning, Medicaid planning, and elder care planning. Each person should have a plan regardless of age or financial status.
Call 888-390-4360 or use the online contact form to schedule an appointment to learn more about estate planning for young adults.