What Parents of an 18-Year-Old Need to Know

Turning 18 – a milestone where your not-so-little one steps into the world of adulthood, armed with the right to vote, and yes, the legal autonomy that comes with it. But amidst the birthday candles and the proud parental tears, there’s a crucial aspect that often gets overshadowed: the legal implications of your child turning 18.

Suddenly, your legal authority to make decisions on their behalf, be it health-related, financial, or otherwise, poofs away like birthday wish smoke. So, how do we navigate through this new terrain while ensuring our young adults are safeguarded against the unexpected?

1. Health Care Proxy: Your Voice in Their Health Matters

Once your child turns 18, you no longer have the automatic right to make health care decisions on their behalf. A Health Care Proxy allows your young adult to appoint you (or another trusted individual) to make medical decisions for them in case they’re unable to do so. Without it, you’re in the audience, concerned but unable to act or access crucial information.

2. HIPAA Authorization: Unlocking the Doors to Medical Information

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures that an 18-year-old’s medical records are under lock and key, even from parents. A HIPAA Authorization form gives healthcare providers the green light to share health information with those your child designates, ensuring you’re not kept in the dark regarding their health status.

3. Durable Power of Attorney: Steering Their Financial Ship

A Durable Power of Attorney allows your 18-year-old to appoint someone to manage their financial affairs either immediately or in the event that they become unable to do so themselves. From managing a bank account to handling tuition payments, this document ensures that you can step in when needed, safeguarding them from potential financial hiccups.

The Intention: Safeguarding Their Future

While these legal documents might seem daunting, at their core, they’re about safeguarding your child as they step into adulthood. It’s about ensuring that, even as they spread their wings, there’s a safety net, woven with love, care, and legal foresight, ready to catch them if they falter. As your child steps into the world, with dreams in their eyes and excitement in their steps, let’s ensure that they’re shielded from the unexpected twists of life. Here at Antanavage Farbiarz, we’re not just attorneys; we’re also parents, and we’re ready to guide you through every twist and turn with empathy.

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