Estate Planning Documents For Graduates
High school graduation is a milestone that young people in the United States are approaching with the arrival of summer. Now is the best time to help your child prepare for the future. It is an incredible achievement to graduate high school. But, high school graduation comes with serious responsibilities your child may not be thinking about right now. Your child becomes a legal adult when they turn 18, meaning that some regions of their life, which were previously under your control, will now be entirely theirs.
Your child will be legally an adult, but you still have parental responsibilities. However, if your child is not supported to become an adult with legal documents, it can be difficult and expensive for you to assist them in an emergency.
If your child is involved in a severe car accident and needs hospitalization, you won’t be able to automatically make financial decisions or take care of their medical treatment. Without legal documentation, you would not be able to access your child’s medical records or bank accounts, and that is without a court order.
This will help you address your vulnerability and prevent your family from getting stuck in unnecessary court proceedings. Before your children move out or go to college, discuss estate planning. Have them sign the following documents.
1. Medical power of attorney
A medical power of attorney is the first document that your child will need. Medical power is an advance directive for healthcare that gives your child the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for them if they are incapacitated or unable to do so.
For example, the medical power of attorney would enable you to make decisions about your child’s medical care if they are injured in an accident or becomes a patient with a debilitating condition.
If your child has been hospitalized due to a severe accident or illness, and you need access to their medical records to make treatment decisions, you would need to petition the court for legal guardianship. Although a parent is usually the first choice of a guardian for your child, control can be expensive and slow.
HIPAA laws make it impossible for anyone, not your parents, to view your child’s medical records after they turn 18. A properly drafted medical power will contain a signed HIPAA authorization, allowing you to immediately access your child’s medical records and make informed decisions about their treatment.
2. Living will
The medical power of attorney permits you to make healthcare decisions for your child during incapacity. However, a living will provides more specific guidance. These are detailed instructions on how your child should make medical decisions, especially at the end. A living will, for example, allows your child to tell you if they would like life support to be discontinued if they need it. A living will not only document how your child wants their medical care managed but also provide instructions on who should visit them at the hospital and what type of food they would like to be served. If your child is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or uses special supplements, you should include this information in their living will.
Talk with your child about the unique medical decisions regarding the coronavirus. This includes intubation, ventilators, and experimental medication. Your child should outline the quality of life decisions they want to make in their living will.
3. Durable financial power of attorney
If your child becomes incapacitated, you might need to be able to access their finances and manage them, and this requires your child to grant durable financial power to you. A durable financial power of attorney grants you the right to manage their legal and financial affairs, including paying their tuition, applying and paying for student loans, paying rent, negotiating and renegotiating leases, managing their bank accounts, and collecting any government benefits. You must petition the court for this authority if you don’t have it.