Your Rights as the Parent of a Young Adult – What You Need to Know – Christine’s Family Wealth Series

Hi:

Just returned from a  2 week grad trip with the boys to France, Picture4Switzerland and Italy.     We had a great trip, lots of driving, but a great trip. We visited Antibes in the south of France, and Eze was particularly beautiful. This is a medieval city on a hilltop, built in the 11th century or so. We hiked down (nice but tough on the knees) and then back up (nightmare) the Nietzsche Path, which is about 1.2 miles down from Eze to the Mediterranean. The dip in the azure sea was welcomed.  More about our travels next week but here are a few photos from Eze.

Cameron celebrating his 18th birthday. The whole restaurant serenaded him!

Cameron celebrating his 18th birthday. The whole restaurant serenaded him!

Cameron turned 18 while we were in Lyon France. This was another reminder to me of the importance of completing his incapacity planning. He is now legally an adult, which means as a parent, I no longer have any rights to control his legal or financial affairs, or medical decision making. Even more frustrating to many parents is the inability to even obtain information about their child, and this is especially true in the medical arena.  Should your child chose NOT to allow you to communicate with physicians or medical providers, you have no recourse.  Young adults are not in the best position, based in limited life experience, to make such decisions on their own.  Consider making it your priority to get incapacity planning in place for your adult children, at least until they are married or have a significant other in their lives.

We can get this done for you quickly and conveniently,especially if you have a child leaving the state for college.

Until next time,

Christine E. Faulkner

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Your Rights as the Parent of a Young Adult – What You Need to Know 

As a parent, you are most likely quite accustomed to managing the legal and medical affairs of your children, as circumstances require. If your child requires urgent medical attention while away from you, a simple phone call authorizing care usually can do the trick. But what happens when those “children” turn 18, and are now adults in the eyes of the law, and need of urgent medical attention far from home?

The simple fact is that the day your child turns 18, he or she becomes an adult, and have the legal rights of an adult. What this means for you is that you lose your prior held rights to make medical and financial decisions for your child, unless your child executes legal documents giving you those rights back. Without the proper legal documents in place, accessing medical information, and even being informed about your adult child’s medical condition can be difficult and in some cases, impossible.

When sending kids off to college, it is important to consider the legal implications an accident or medical emergency might have on your ability to stay informed and participate in important decision making for your young adult child. Medical professionals have a responsibility to follow the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which ensures medical privacy protection for all adults. Once your child turns 18, they are (from a legal perspective)no more attached to you than a stranger, making communication about medical issues tricky if your child is incapacitated and not able to grant permission on their own.

In most states, there are three legal documents which can make all the difference when a medical crisis strikes and your young adult child is far from home. When utilized together, they can ensure a parent or trusted adult be kept in the loop about care and treatment when a child over the age of 18 experiences a medical event while they are away at college, traveling, or living far from home. As with most legal documents, the law varies from state to state, so be sure to seek out the counsel of your Personal Family Lawyer® to determine which forms suit your situation best.

HIPAA – Essentially like a permission slip, this authorization allows your adult child to specify who is allowed access to their personal medical information. Specific information can be specifically withheld, such as drug use, sexual activity, and mental health issues can so that additional privacy can be protected if desired.

Medical power of attorney Designates an agent to make medical decisions for the young adult. This could be you, as the parent or another trusted adult. Each state has different laws governing medical power of attorney, thereby requiring different forms. Be sure to check with your Personal Family Lawyer® to be sure you are following the laws of your state, as well as the state in which your child resides.

Durable financial power of attorney -Allows the parent or another trusted adult to take care of personal business in the event the adult child is unable to do so.  This form would allow the parent to take care of such important tasks such as signing tax returns, paying bills, and accessing bank accounts for the incapacitated adult child. A durable power of attorney is indeed powerful and gives broad access to sensitive financial and legal decision making and should only be given to a trusted relative or friend.

The milestones come quickly once children graduate from high school and enter into the big, wide world away from home. As your family navigates these significant rites of passage, be sure to consult us as your Personal Family Lawyer® to determine the steps necessary to ensure excellent communication and peace of mind when a medical emergency arises. Consider including your young adult children in the process. We’re here to help your family establish the legal and medical protections you all need to live the lives you desire.

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