Even Eighteen-Year-Olds Need Some Estate Planning

A2277887Often, people do not realize that once their children are legal adults (at the age of eighteen), they no longer have the legal right to make most decisions for their children. After children turn eighteen, they have the legal right to privacy and to govern their own lives. Therefore, every young adult should have a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy, just like their parents. What better birthday present for your son or daughter than ensuring their wishes are obeyed and that their assets are managed by the right person?

After children graduate from high school and either go off to college or join the military or work force, most people do not think of the legal issues that arise with adulthood. However, if your child lost the ability to make or communicate decisions, medical professionals might refuse to consult with or even release information to a parent without proper documents. Similarly, without a durable power of attorney, a parent would be unable to access financial accounts in such a scenario. Just because an eighteen-year-old may not own much property, there is still a need to do some basic planning.

Durable Power of Attorney: As I mentioned in my last blog article, this document appoints an individual to make financial and legal decisions for you. We recommend powers of attorney that are effective immediately upon execution. So, it’s important to name someone you trust implicitly. A young adult can name his or her parents.

Health Care Proxy: A health care proxy appoints an individual to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to. Without one, the parent of an adult child does not have this right. It is important for every adult to have a Health Care Proxy.

Please let us know if it is time to plan for your young adult children. If so, we can help you plan appropriately. Duck


About Emily Beekman

Emily joined Mirick O’Connell in 2014 as an associate with the Trusts and Estates Group. The focus of her practice is estate planning, probate and trust administration, and elder law. Emily assists clients with the preparation of wills, revocable living trusts, health care proxies, durable powers of attorney, and MassHealth applications. She also concentrates her practice in the area of estate and trust administration, advising personal representatives, trustees and other fiduciaries on the legal aspects of administering complex estates and trusts. This representation also includes the preparation and filing of gift and estate tax returns on the state and federal levels.
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