Does anyone having a kid taking that step? If so, you might be wondering, what estate planning documents should my son or daughter, who just turned 18 and is planning to attend college in the fall, have in place?
Here’s what you should know.
At age 18, your child is now an adult in the eyes of the law. This means you no longer have the authority to make decisions regarding their medical care, nor will you have access to their finances if something happens to them.
Since you are no longer in charge, your child’s greatest liability from a planning perspective is what would happen if they were incapacitated by illness or injury and become unable to make decisions on their own behalf. To prepare for this scenario, you should have your child sign two key documents: a health care directive and durable financial power of attorney.
A health care directive allows your child to grant you (or someone else) the legal authority to make healthcare decisions on their behalf in the event they are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. A health care directive, inclusive of provisions that make a living will, provides specific guidance about how your child would want their medical decisions made in the event they are incapacitated.
Finally, if your child is incapacitated, you may also need the ability to access and manage their finances, and this is done with durable financial power of attorney, which gives you the authority to manage their financial, educational and legal matters, such as paying tuition and managing their bank accounts. Do make sure to check with your child’s institution to inquire about any specific forms, waivers or other requirements they might have about getting access when and where needed.
At Taylor Kaspar Law, we can help you create each of these documents to ensure your child is adequately protected as they begin this next chapter in young adult life.