Hi, Kevin Campbell here with Peaks Financial
Your kids might always be your little angels in your eyes, but in the eyes of the law, they become legal adults when they turn 18! And this shift in status can cause some serious headaches if you're not prepared.
So, here's the deal: once they are legal adults, you lose your magic parental powers. No more making legal decisions for them, and say goodbye to accessing their health, education, and financial records without their written consent. It's all off-limits!
Picture this nightmare scenario: your adult child is incapable of making decisions on their own due to a medical issue or accident. You'd naturally want to step in and help, right? You would want to help make health care decisions and make sure they receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, you'll be barred from doing so if you don't have the right documents in place. Distance makes it even trickier, like when they're away at college. It's like navigating a legal maze without a map!
Keep in mind I'm not an attorney, so this should not be considered legal advice. I'm just trying to make sure this is on your radar as part of your overall planning process. Also, keep in mind that while I have a list of what I believe to be the most important docs, state laws may vary, so make sure you seek qualified legal counsel in the state where your adult child lives.
So- For most young adults, until they are married, have a partner, or have other people in their lives that they trust to make these decisions, their parents are the most obvious people to be granted these responsibilities.
Like most things in the financial and legal world, there's hope if you plan ahead and get those important documents ready. So, let's talk about the essential documents:
Health care power of attorney: A superhero document that allows you to make health care decisions on their behalf if they can't. You hope you never need it, but it's a lifesaver when you do.
HIPAA authorization: This one lets you maintain access to their medical info. Without it, you're left in the dark when it comes to their health details. Doctors and hospitals can’t share info with you without this. Let's avoid that, shall we?
Financial power of attorney: Just like the health care proxy, but for financial decisions. Having this power can save them (and you) from costly blunders.
FERPA authorization: This is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act! Your kid's educational records are off-limits without their written consent. So, get this one, too if you want to stay in the loop.
Simple will: Nobody likes thinking about it, but having a will in place is essential. If the unthinkable happens, their assets will be subject to probate laws, and that can be a real headache for you and their siblings.
So, take this seriously and get those ducks in a row. Your kids might be all grown up now, but they'll still need your guidance and protection for some time, especially in emergency situations. And with these legal documents by your side, you'll be better prepared to handle whatever life throws your way.
Thanks for watching, and I will see you next time.