Before your son or daughter packs up for summer vacation or even their first semester of college, I want you to think about what it means having a child who is an “adult” in the eyes of the law.
From a legal standpoint, you will now need written permission to make important medical or financial decisions on his/her behalf. Also if your child is seriously injured in an accident or becomes ill hundreds of miles away from home you will have to have specific legal documentation in place that gives you permission to make important medical and lifesaving decision.
So avoid this I encourage parents of graduating seniors to take some time this summer and create 3 simple documents with their “adult” son or daughter. They consist of the following:
- Advance Health Care Directive – this document allows a young adult to appoint someone they trust (the parent) to be their health care agent should they wind up in a coma or become otherwise incapacitated in a serious accident. It also specifies the type of long‐term care or life support the child would want.
- Financial Power of Attorney – having a financial power of attorney is necessary to give someone (preferably the parents) permission to access any bank accounts and act financially on the adult child’s behalf if an emergency occurs. Such activities covered under the power of attorney include paying bills, buying or selling assets, applying for social security or other government benefits and the opening and closing of accounts.
- Signed HIPAA Form – parents should have their adult child pre‐sign a HIPAA form to ensure they can immediately communicate with physicians and access important medical records.
- Finally, for added protection, I would also create an ICE Card (In Case of Emergency) to be kept in the child’s wallet listing the names of all approved emergency contacts, health insurance information and all known allergies.
It’s a natural instinct to want to jump in and help your child in an emergency. Yet without these documents in place, you could be a helpless in the event of a major accident. Please make it a point before summer ends to create these legal documents.
At Weaver Law Offices, we would be happy to work with you to answer any questions you may have. Please call our office to make an appointment at 614‐834‐1750.