Myth 7: My Kids Will Never Grow Up – A Blog on Graduation

By Jonathan Williams


Your young adult child is approaching graduation and will soon leave the home—congratulations! But as he or she enters adulthood, it is important that you consider and plan for the possibility that your child might suffer an illness or injury resulting in incapacitation or death. Young adults often feel invincible, but accidents and health crises happen every day, and a good estate plan has provisions for both death and incapacity, and strives to make legal and financial affairs easier during difficult times.


A past president of the American College Health Association reported that the primary sources of death and incapacity in college students are vehicular injuries, suicide, cancer, and homicide. An 18 year-old is protected under the federal HIPAA law, which means that medical professionals will require a release signed by the child—or worse, a court order—before sharing information or records with a parent. Waiting until an incapacitating medical event occurs is too late; if your child wants you to be able to access his or her medical records or speak freely with his or her medical providers, your child should sign a HIPAA release saying so. Additionally, they should consider making a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Living Will, and a general financial Power of Attorney. Together, these documents can ensure that if your child becomes incapacitated, even temporarily, your child’s financial and medical decisions can be made by those persons the child trusts the most, with minimal—and usually no—court involvement.


If your young adult child does not have children, then in most cases the parents will receive the child’s property upon death. This is because most college students do not have a Will. That’s where a proper estate plan, including a Will, can make a difference. It will allow your young adult child to decide who will inherit from them, for example. More importantly, it can give them an understanding of the gravity of setting out on their own and how their adult decisions will affect their future. This can help start them on the right path for decisive and future-focused life preparation. So what’s preventing you from taking the first step? Call Walker Lambe and mention this blog to get your child’s plan started today.

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