Thursday, August 19, 2010

Turning 18 - legal ramifications for parents

My daughter will soon be turning 18.  My sister-in-law, who is a financial planner, recently sent along some important information about things parents need to think about.  Once children turn 18, they are legally considered adults. This applies even if they are still in high school.

Since they are now adults, parents no longer have the same level of access or authority over their child's financial, educational and medical information. This can cause problems in cases where the child needs help in these areas.

Lowry Hill's article "The Transition to Adulthood: Readying Children for the Real World" discusses things to be considered from a legal and financial viewpoint. They recommend preparing and signing these documents:
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • Durable General Power of Attorney
Having these documents can prevent parents from needing to go to court. For example, they state "Without a Health Care Power of Attorney, parents may end up spending time in emergency court hearings trying to obtain legal authority to make time-sensitive medical decisions for their child."

While filling out legal documents is not the way most of us like to spend our time, these documents could save us a lot of heartache in the future.   These legal documents vary by state and most can be obtained online. 

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