On the day your child turns 18, you no longer have the same rights you did just the day before. Without the following three documents, you could be left in the dark and unable to help if something happens to your newly-minted "adult"!
#1 Health Care Power of Attorney (including a "Living Will")
You've made medical decisions for your child since he or she was a baby. But after blowing out the candles, you are also kissing goodbye a lot of rights you have grown accustomed to. Imagine finding out your 18 year old child has been rushed to the emergency room. You could be surprised when you call on your way in that the hospital staff refuses to answer your questions. However, if your adult child has completed a Health Care Power of Attorney designating you as his or her health care representative, you won't be shut out and you will be able to make critical and timely decisions. The Health Care Power of Attorney should also be partnered with a Living Will, which applies if he or she becomes terminally ill or permanently unconscious or another similar condition as defined by that state*s law. This gives parents peace of mind during a difficult or extremely stressful time.
Even if you aren't named as your adult-child's first choice for making decisions, it is unlikely they want you shut out of the conversation. However, that is exactly what would happen if some advance planning isn't done. The HIPAA Release helps to maintain your adult child's privacy while allowing certain close friends or family members access to otherwise-protected health information. Therefore, you*ll want to discuss adding your name to this form as well.
Durable Power of Attorney
If your adult child needs help managing their finances (whether they are sick, or just still learning), they will be well-advised to complete a Durable Power of Attorney and name you as their agent (or "attorney-in-fact"). Having a document like this in place can be vital to help protect your child's finances, credit rating, and even identity in the event of a major illness, injury, or incapacity.
With these documents in place, you can rest a little easier as your child heads off to college, travels the world, or starts their new job.
Additional resources provided by the author
Most of these documents can be found in various forms from attorneys that focus on estate planning. They can also be found in Avvo's self help section. More specifically, in Arizona, the Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will can be found on the Arizona Attorney General's website under the "Life Care Planning" section.
Arizona residents can also check out my website and blog for additional information: www.seiterlawpllc.com
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