Once your child turns eighteen, you, as a parent, lose the legal right to make decisions for your young adult. You even lose access to basic information about health or finances. If your child suffers a medical emergency, you may be left helpless when it comes to making any decision for your child.
This is why it’s crucial to contact a North Carolina estate planning attorney to have certain documents drafted for your young adult as soon as they reach eighteen. With proper planning, your child will be able to choose someone they trust to make the right financial and medical decisions for them should they become unable to do so for themselves.
The Basic Documents Your Young Adult Should Have
Here are a few essential documents that should be included in your young adult’s estate plan:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. With this document, your child chooses a person to receive the legal authority to make any medical or other healthcare decisions for them if they cannot make or communicate decisions for themselves.
- Living Will/Medical Directive. This document allows your young adult’s healthcare choices to be known and guides medical personnel regarding the type of life support your young adult wants if they suffer from a terminal illness, condition, injury, or if they are in an irreversible, permanent vegetative condition. North Carolina laws specify the types of situations where the terms of a living will can take effect.
- Durable Financial Power of Attorney. In this document, your young adult will choose someone called an agent or attorney-in-fact to have the legal authority to manage their assets.Because a regular power-of-attorney ends when the person creating it becomes incapacitated while a durable power of attorney remains valid in those circumstances, it is important to ensure the document establishes a durable power of attorney. You may also want to talk to your North Carolina estate planning attorney about adding a clause to specify that the power-of-attorney does not take effect unless and until your young adult becomes incapacitated.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization. In this document, your young adult gives healthcare providers permission to discuss their medical information with other people, which can include family members, friends, or other loved ones.
What Happens After the Documents Have Been Signed?
Once your young adult has signed their estate planning documents, it’s imperative that the people they have designated know where to find any and all financial records and passwords. Talk with your estate planning attorney about whether it is advisable to register any power of attorney documents.
Your young adult should compile a list of all of their accounts and passwords, print out this list, and put it in a safe place, such as with their estate planning documents. A hard copy of this list is vital if your young adult’s computer is stolen, lost, or crashes. These documents should be maintained and kept up to date.
Help with Estate Planning for Young Adults
As parents, we never want to think about our young adult children being seriously injured or incapacitated. However, the reality is, it could happen. Having an estate plan for your young adult could save a lot of confusion, frustration, and stress.
The experienced North Carolina estate planning attorneys at Salines-Mondello Law Firm, P.C. would be happy to meet with your young adult and help guide them through the estate planning process.