Congratulations! Your child (or grandchild) has become an adult. It’s time to celebrate and enjoy this milestone, but it’s also time to get serious about planning for the future! It’s important to make sure that your child has the legal documents they need in case something happens to them. For example, if they have an accident, who will have access to their medical records? Will someone be able to make decisions about their care if they can’t?
The first step is to set up these 4 critical estate planning documents:
A Healthcare Power of Attorney provides guidance on what happens if your child becomes unable to make decisions on their own behalf. For example, if your child were in the hospital and needed surgery but wasn’t able to give consent for the procedure because of an accident or illness, a power of attorney for healthcare would allow another person (such as a parent) to make healthcare decisions on their behalf.
A General Power of Attorney allows someone else to make legal and financial decisions without court intervention if the person cannot act on their own behalf due to mental incapacity or physical disability. This document lets your adult child appoint someone (a caregiver) who can manage their affairs — such as pay bills, moving money from one account to another, signing contracts, etc. if something were to happen to him/her — but only when necessary.
A HIPAA authorization allows named person(s) access to medical records at any time; this can be helpful if there’s ever a question about medical treatment or prescriptions from previous doctors after one has moved away from their home state (and thus doesn’t have access).
The last document is a Living Will. This document helps guide medical professionals in making decisions should your adult child become unable to communicate or make them himself due to injury, illness, or incapacity.
If you have a child (or grandchild) who is approaching adulthood, it’s important to sit down with your child before you ask them to sign anything. We are happy to meet with you and your child (grandchild) in our office to help explain the reasoning and power behind these documents.
If you’ve ever needed proof that a mom’s or dad’s job is never done, here it is. Please call our office today at 504-831-2348 to schedule a young adult consultation.