What does it mean to be 18 years old?  From a personal perspective, it means college and freedom.  However, from a legal perspective, it can be a liability, not only for the 18-year-old but for you, the parents, as well.  When your child turns 18, parental legal rights dramatically change, especially in regard to financial, educational, or health rights, and this can be detrimental to their own life, especially if they are away at school.

This does not mean your children are now completely independent from you.  You still may pay their tuition, you still may pay their rent, you still may even do their laundry, but you no longer have access to their financial, educational, or health records.  However, certain steps can be taken to secure you some legal authority to make important decisions, whether health related or financial, in support of your children’s future.

The first step you can take is to set up a health care proxy and power of attorney.  This provides a certain level of security and preparation in case anything happens while your children are away.  A healthcare proxy is much more important than you might think.  Think of it like having insurance or a will; both are utilized in preparation of unforeseen events.  Read More

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This year, a relative of mine left for her freshman year of college, several hours away from home.  As if acclimating to college life was not difficult enough, a bad case of pneumonia was spreading around campus like wild fire.  Within a few weeks my relative was stricken ill and had to be transported to the hospital.  Her parents were alerted to the fact that she was being transported by the school, however, they were unable to receive any information from the doctors themselves at the hospital.  Why?  They did not have a pre-existing proxy allowing for the disclosure of medical information.  They left their house immediately, driving haphazardly to the hospital near their daughter’s school, several hours away.  However, the lack of proxy was still a lingering problem.  After speaking with me, I explained what a health care proxy is and put them in contact with the appropriate lawyer who could quickly prepare said document.  They picked up the documents on their way to the school, but there was still an issue; they needed their daughter’s signature as well as a witness.  After getting to the hospital and hearing directly from their daughter, they had her sign the proxy.  There is nothing worse than the fear that coincides with the uncertainty of your child’s welfare.  Now, with the proxy tendered, they were prepared for any future medical emergencies that may surface.

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Simple legal documents, like the health care proxy or power of attorney, would not only make your life easier, but will heavily relieve potential stress or anxiety that you may incur without them.  Take the time to not only lessen your burden, but provide an extra layer of security to your children.  Contact us to get started!

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This information is not intended to be a substitute for special individualized legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific legal issues with a qualified legal professional.

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