We are fairly certain the last thing your 18-year-old kid is thinking about is an estate plan. And you are probably not thinking about one for them either, but you should be.
Here’s why: once your child turns 18, you are no longer entitled to know about their medical records or make decisions about their medical treatment.
Can you imagine your child needing medical treatment in some college town and you are not able to help in any way without a court saying you can? It can, and does, happen.
What you need to do is have your adult child fill out a health care proxy with a HIPAA release (HIPAA refers to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, the law that makes health records private for those over the age of 18). On the form, your child can designate you as their agent, allowing you to have access to medical records and to make health care decisions for them in case they cannot do so themselves.
While you’re at it, have your child complete a Durable Power of Attorney as well, which will give you the right to oversee their finances in case of incapacitation.
Hopefully you will never need to use these three documents, but having these necessary protections in place will give you both peace of mind.