Legal Documents That Every Young Adult Needs
Millions of students have recently graduated from high school and are ready to ‘leave the nest’. The last thing on their mind is preparing for any legal issues that may arise now that they are adults. At the age of 18 (19 in some states), your child is no longer considered a minor. As a parent to an adult child, you will no longer have the same legal rights that you did when they were a minor. You will no longer be considered their Power of Attorney for both financial and health care issues. In addition, most doctors and hospitals will no longer release medical information to the parents once their child has reached the age of majority.
For example, a college junior takes a summer internship away from home on the coast to pursue their dream of becoming a marine biologist. However, they contract an infection while working and are hospitalized for several weeks. Without proper powers of attorney, the parents will not be able to make medical decisions, access the child's checking account to pay their rent, nor will the hospital give details to them on their child's condition.
Whether your child is going off to college or moving two blocks away, there are several legal documents that are important to have in place. These documents include a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a medical information release (HIPAA) document. Here's what these are and why a student may need them.
Power of attorney: It can give the student's parent the authority to sign documents on their child’s behalf and give them access to and direct transactions for their financial accounts.
Health care power of attorney: They allow a parent to make medical decisions if their child is physically unable to do so. Don't find out too late that your child has been admitted to a hospital and you're not authorized to discuss treatment plans or make urgent decisions regarding care.
HIPAA form: Named for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, this form authorizes medical care providers to release and share medical information about their patient to those listed. Without it, health providers are legally prohibited from sharing this information even with family members.
Getting these legal documents prepared and signed in advance and keeping copies on hand is a good precaution. Parents and students should also talk about privacy and under what scenarios these documents would be used. Powers of attorney will only become active when it is determined that they are necessary.
Contact Elder Law of Omaha today at (402) 614-6400 to set up your FREE 30 minute attorney consultation to discuss these documents and more.
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This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.