Estate Planning For Parents Of Soon-To-Be 18 Years Old

When a child turns 18, they cross the threshold into legal adulthood, which significantly changes how parents can interact with healthcare providers, educational institutions, and financial services on their behalf. At Jordan & White, LLC, we understand how this milestone can feel exciting and daunting for parents. As an attorney and a father of three, I am intimately familiar with the challenges and responsibilities of parenting through this transition.

Understanding the Legal Implications of Adulthood

In Massachusetts, turning 18 means your child is legally recognized as an adult. This change affects parental rights in several ways. For instance, parents are no longer automatically authorized to make medical or financial decisions for their children. If your newly adult child were to become incapacitated without the proper legal documents in place, you could be legally barred from making crucial decisions on their behalf. This situation can create unnecessary stress and complications during critical moments.

The Essential Legal Documents Every Parent Should Consider 

To prepare for these eventualities, it’s crucial to set up key legal documents allowing you to act on your child’s behalf if needed. Jordan & White, LLC is here to help families create these essential documents:

  1. Healthcare Proxy: This document allows you to make medical decisions for your child if they cannot do so themselves. It’s vital for medical decisions that need to be made quickly, and your child cannot express their wishes.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney enables you to manage your child’s financial affairs. A durable power of attorney can prevent significant disruptions, Whether accessing bank accounts to pay bills or managing tuition payments.
  3. HIPAA Authorization Form: Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws protect your child’s medical privacy once they turn 18. Having a HIPAA authorization form in place allows access to your child’s medical records, which can be essential in an emergency.

Why Planning Matters 

The best time to prepare these documents is before your child turns 18. Addressing these matters early can prevent gaps in your legal ability to assist your child during emergencies. It’s especially important to manage these legal steps before major life events, such as high school graduation or the start of college, which can be hectic and emotionally charged.

The Importance of Being Prepare

Consider the case of a family whose 18-year-old son was involved in a car accident during his first semester at college. Because they had previously set up a healthcare proxy and a durable power of attorney, the parents could immediately speak with healthcare professionals, make informed decisions about their son’s medical care, and handle his tuition and housing payments during his recovery. This preparation allowed them to focus on their son’s recovery rather than facing legal barriers.

Steps to Take Now 

If your child is nearing or has turned 18, consider setting up these documents as soon as possible. Jordan & White, LLC is here to guide you through the process, ensuring that all legal forms reflect your wishes and comply with Massachusetts laws.

Long-Term Benefits for Your Family 

Establishing these documents provides immediate benefits in emergencies but also helps inculcate a sense of responsibility and legal awareness in young adults. They can serve as educational tools, helping your child understand the importance of legal preparedness and the responsibilities of adulthood.

Your Partners in Legal Parenting 

At Jordan & White, LLC, we are committed to assisting parents on the North Shore of Massachusetts as they undergo the complexities of their children’s transition to adulthood. Our experience and understanding of state laws enable us to provide families with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are prepared for the legal realities of adulthood.

Secure Your Child’s Legal Safety Net 

Don’t wait for an emergency to find out you are unprepared. Contact Jordan & White, LLC today at 978-744-2811 or visit our website to schedule a consultation. As your estate planning attorneys on the North Shore of Massachusetts, we are here to help you create a comprehensive plan that ensures you can continue to protect and support your child, no matter what the future holds.