By: David J. DelFiandra, Esq.
For most parents, a child turning age 18 can be both a sad and exciting time – sadness that your child is no longer a minor under your supervision, but excitement as they are embarking on adulthood. For some families, this means your child is transitioning into the role of a college student, often in faraway places.
Once age 18, your child is an adult under the law and you, as parents, are no longer entitled to medical information concerning your child. If your child is hospitalized while away at school, a healthcare provider cannot release information to you, as the parent, due to various laws, including HIPAA.
To ensure that you continue to have access to information regarding your child, you should consider having your 18-year-old execute basic estate planning documents including the following:
- Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will – This document can appoint you as Agent for your child, enabling you to access healthcare information about them and make decisions on their behalf, if they are unable to do so. HIPAA releases are included in a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will.
- Financial Power of Attorney – A Financial Power of Attorney allows you, as Agent, to make financial decisions on behalf of your child. For example, you would be able to discuss all aspects of your child’s tuition and financial aid with your child’s college.
- Basic Will –A basic Will allows your child to provide who will inherit any property owned by your child and serve as Executor of his or her Will. Without a Will, the death of a child would cause their Estate to be intestate and the state would provide for the distribution of wealth.
Putting these basic documents in place for your child provides some peace of mind for your family during an important transition period in a child’s life.
Leech Tishman’s Estates & Trusts Practice Group is engaged in the development of practical, effective estate planning and business succession planning for individuals, families, businesses, non-profit organizations, and private foundations.
If you have any questions regarding estate & trusts matters, please contact David J. DelFiandra. David is a Partner and Chair of the firm’s Estates & Trusts Practice Group. David is based in the Pittsburgh office and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, Florida and West Virginia. He can be reached at 412.261.1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, aviation & aerospace, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, estates & trusts, family law, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, internal investigations, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in El Segundo, CA, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota and Wilmington, DE.