When Your Child Becomes a Legal Adult

Parents have control of the legal decisions regarding their children for the first 18 years of their lives. When a child turns 18, a parent loses the “legal” right to make decisions regarding issues such as health-care, finances, and academics. Many parents do not plan for these changes, but when children head off to college it often becomes extremely important.

Drafting a power of attorney to address health-care issues and a living will can help resolve the matter. A health-care power of attorney provides parents the ability to make health-care decisions for their child when the child become physically or mentally unable to make those decisions. Having a living will in place allows for the parents to make life-threatening medical decisions, when a “child” is unable to do so. In addition to these forms, a HIPPA Authorization can be helpful to access a child’s personal medical information in case a child becomes ill. HIPPA Authorization forms allow for full or partial release of medical information to a parent. Absent such forms, a parent has no legal right to discuss a child’s health with a medical provider once the child reaches 18 years of age.

Being able to make medical decisions for a child is important, but financial decisions can be just as important. A financial power of attorney allows for parents to manage their child’s finances in an instance where the child is temporarily or permanently unable to make decisions. Additionally, a financial power of attorney will take the place of expensive guardianship proceedings for the child.

  Ultimately, an adult child can be faced with the same issues as a parent. There can come a time in life when the roles are reversed and a parent can become the responsibility of their 18-year-old child or spouse. The same forms a parent needs to make legal decisions for their children can be used to enable an adult child to make such decisions for their parents. The power of attorney and living will, allow for those decisions to be made in the event the parent or spouse becomes physically or mentally unable to. Furthermore, having a HIPPA Authorization will allow access to the medical records in the event they become ill.

Financial responsibilities can also become the responsibility of the adult child when a parent is unable to make financial decisions. Having a financial power of attorney will allow the adult child to manage the parent’s finances if the parent is temporarily or permanently unable to. Ultimately, these forms can help avoid court proceedings and unnecessary stress when trying to make timely decisions.

If you or someone you know require any of these types of documents please contact the lawyers at Kahn & Resnik, P.L. Our lawyers proudly serve all of Florida and will guide you through every step of the legal process. Call us now at 954-321-0176 to set up a consultation.