Grown and Flown—What documents do young adult children need to protect themselves?
Do you have an 18-year-old headed off to college? Or even a young adult making their way in the world? You might be surprised to learn that they too should have some estate planning documents in place to help protect them both financially and health-wise.
For example, did you know that without legal documents in place, a hospital or doctor will not allow you to make important medical decisions for your adult child, even in emergency situations? It’s true. Imagine receiving a call at 1:00 a.m. from an ER personnel in another state asking for verification of your adult child’s insurance benefits. The care provider will not share any other information about the adult child’s condition other than the fact that he/she is in the emergency room at a particular hospital. Imagine the panic that this parent would feel--sitting and waiting, calling the child’s cell phone over and over, before eventually learning with great relief that the child has just sprained his or her arm. This happens. HIPAA laws protect an adult’s right to medical privacy, but the laws also often prevent our loved ones from gaining valuable information about our medical condition so that important decisions can be made.
In addition, banks and other financial institutions also will not allow you to have access to your child’s accounts should an adult child become incapacitated in some way.
We often think only older adults need estate planning documents. But the truth is, all adults need certain legal documents to help protect their finances and their health should they become incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. I know I want my loved ones to make important decisions for me if I am unable to do so. Wouldn’t our children want the same?
Here are five legal documents, known as our “Grown and Flown” Package, that every young adult should have, and that every parent should want:
- HIPAA Authorization: A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization allows an adult child to give his or her parent(s) permission to ask for and receive information from healthcare providers about the child’s medical condition, progress and treatment plan. Without this authorization, a parent cannot obtain any medical information about their child without a court order.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: A Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA) allows an adult child to appoint a parent, or whomever they wish, to make important medical decisions for them if they are unable to do so themselves.
- Property Power of Attorney: A Property Power of Attorney (POA), also referred to as a Durable POA, allows an adult child to appoint a parent to make financial decisions for them if they are unable to do so themselves.
- Advanced Directive: An Advanced Directive is an end-of-life decision making document. It allows an adult child to express wishes in end-of-life situations, as well as appoint a representative to support and enforce those decisions.
- Nomination of Guardian and Conservator: A Guardian is a court-appointed person to make decisions about someone’s physical well-being and a conservator is a court-appointed person to make decisions about finances. A Nomination of Guardian and Conservator allows an adult child to nominate who they would want these persons to be should the need arise.
We provide our “Grown and Flown” Package for a flat fee of $500. If you are interested in getting more information, or know someone who is, please contact our office at (503) 641-6262 to schedule a consult.