If you have a recent high school graduate, likely they recently turned 18 and are now legally an adult. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic the end of high school may not have turned out as planned as many proms, graduations, and other end of school year events were cancelled. Pandemic reminded us all just how unexpected life can be. Many people began thinking about estate planning. Did you know that once your child turns 18, parents can’t access medical and financial information for their child? As you spend the summer helping your now adult child prepare for the transition to college and help them with shopping for school supplies, furniture, and clothes for this next chapter in their life, you should add to the to do list, estate planning.
Due to the privacy rules of HIPAA, parents have no legal right to their adult child’s medical records or other health care related information. If your child is involved in an emergency you don’t want delays in getting information or assisting in making medical decisions. Your recent graduate should execute a medical power of attorney and health care directive. This will allow your child to determine who should make medical decisions if they are unable to make them for themselves. It would also be good to execute a HIPPA authorization that would allow the child’s health information to be disclosed. It is also a good idea for your now adult child to execute a financial power of attorney as well giving someone the authority to deal with financial decisions and sign legal documents on their behalf. You may also have them execute a FERPA release. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act can protect your child’s educational records. Having your child sign a FERPA release could allow for a parent to access information and educational records if needed.
As you begin making summer plans, don’t forget to add a consultation with an estate planning attorney to your agenda for your recent graduate!