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Estate Planning for your High School Graduate

Your child is 18, “they’re off to great places, they’re off and away!” as Dr. Seuss would say. They may be off to start college as an incoming Freshman, or starting a certificate program or going right into the work force. Maybe they’re taking a “gap year” to travel and see the world before getting serious about their future. But they’re also a legal adult, with everything that comes along with it.

Problem: You can’t make legal decisions for them anymore

They’re not children anymore. You used to call the shots and now you don’t – for better or for worse. Financial and healthcare scenarios can arises which may warrant the involvement of parents in the legal affairs of their children. Unfortunately, with no planning in place, the parents are generally cut out of important financial and medical decisions.

Solution: Powers of Attorney

A financial power of attorney allows a parent to coordinate the financial and transactional affairs of their adult child in instances of inconvenience (for immediately effective powers of attorney) or only upon incapacity. A health care power of attorney will allow a parent to coordinate the medical affairs of their adult child upon the child’s incapacity. This can prevent a lengthy and involved guardianship proceeding in the event an accident renders your child unconscious and incapable of making their own decisions.

Problem: You can’t coordinate their healthcare anymore

HIPAA prevents medical providers from sharing patient information with anyone other than the patient without the patient’s written consent to release such information. So, if your child is involved in an accident or just having a routine procedure, you don’t automatically have access to that information anymore.

Solution: HIPAA Authorization

A blanket HIPAA Authorization allows your child to release protected health information to you as needed – to keep involved in their treatment even though they are now technically an adult.

Estate planning isn’t just for the affluent and aged – there are serious legal concerns that can arise in the everyday 18-year-old’s life which can warrant the limited planning set forth above – and those instruments can be implemented rather easily.

Author Bio

Paul Yokabitus

Paul Yokabitus is the CEO and Managing Partner of Cary Estate Planning, a Cary, NC, estate planning law firm. With years of experience in estate and elder law, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including estate planning, guardianship, Medicaid planning, estate administration, and other cases.

Paul received his Juris Doctor from the Campbell University School of Law and is a North Carolina Bar Association member. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Best Attorney in Cary” in 2016 and 2017 by Cary News and Rising Star in 2020-2023 by Super Lawyers.

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