Completing high school is a very exciting time in a teenager’s life. Starting a new job. Heading to college. Joining the military. Whatever their course may be, turning 18 represents transition from child to adulthood for the teenager.
With adulthood comes a new freedom. Although teenagers understand that “legally,” they do not require parental approval to engage in most adult activities, rarely do the teens, or their parents, realize that parents lose certain rights when their teen turns 18.
For example, if an 18-year old is in an accident, their parents do not have the right to have their child’s medical status discussed with them, much less the ability to make important medical decisions, unless they are previously authorized by the new adult.
No longer can banking, school, or medical officials communicate with the parents without the young adult’s authorization.
Parents take for granted the ability to oversee and direct legal, financial and medical issues for their children. However, this is a right and obligation of parenthood that immediately ceases upon the child’s 18th birthday.
It is at this age when basic authorizations should be prepared and signed. Even though most adults initiate the “estate planning” process when they get married, start a family or accumulate a certain level of wealth, the need for basic authorizations really occurs when a parent’s ability to legally intervene ceases. Often authorization can be obtained from the young adult with little resistance or trouble, however, there are many occasions (for example, medical emergencies) when the young adult is unable to provide authorization. In these instances, the parents may face a costly (time + money) legal process through the probate court system to obtain the requisite authority to act on behalf of their child.
Every young adult should consider granting basic authorizations that allow trusted loved ones to handle their legal/financial/medical affairs upon any instance that prevents them from conducting their own affairs.
As an estate planning attorney and the parent of two young adults, I have developed a simple authorization package that will provide the parent/guardian the ongoing authority to make legal, financial, banking, contractual and medical decisions on behalf of their new adult child. For a flat rate of $300, all of these documents are available.
We also have included a generic Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) form. This document is an authorization for students that gives a designated individual access to communicate with schools (high school or college) regarding grades, academic progress, school records and more.
To begin the Authorization Worksheet, please click the link below.
You will be walked through the different forms step-by-step with instructions and descriptions that are easy to understand. All of the Authorizations are available for one low cost; whether you choose to use one or all seven is up to you.
- Personal Information
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Living Will
- HIPAA Release
- Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information
- Generic FERPA