Law offices of Gerald L. Kane | A Life Care Planning & Elder Law Firm

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So your Child is Turning 18 … What do you need to know?

Written by Gerry Kane

So your child is graduating high school and moving on to college and I’m sure you are so proud.  As soon as your baby turns eighteen the child now makes their own health care decisions, you as a parent can’t receive confidential medical information and if the child loses capacity you are unable to act on their behalf.   Your child should immediately have in place three important legal documents as follows:

1.  Medical Privacy Waiver. Under HIPAA, individuals over eighteen are entitled to have their health care information protected.  So if your child gets injured, while off at College, the hospital isn’t going to notify you.  What’s worse is that the doctors and hospitals may give you the silent treatment in fear of violating HIPAA by discussing your child’s condition.  A Medical Privacy waiver, signed by your child will allow the doctors to communicate with you and to provide you with any and all confidential medical information requested, such as X-rays.
2.  Health Care Power of Attorney
. Upon turning eighteen, your child is now able to make their own medical decisions.   Your child should now have their own health care power of attorney which specifies who should make medical decisions for them if they are unable to make their own decisions.  Included in the Health Care Power of Attorney is whether to remain on life support, receive nutrition and hydration and burial wishes. <

3.  Financial Power of Attorney. In the event your child loses the ability to manage their own financial affairs, you as a parent can no longer automatically act on their behalf.  Your child should also sign a financial power of attorney giving you as a parent the right to manage bank accounts, sign tax returns, and handle day-to-day transactions.   Without a proper signed financial power of attorney, you may have to get permission from the court to manage their financial affairs that is costly and time consuming.
If your child’s turning eighteen, or is already eighteen we would be glad to assist you in preparing these necessary documents.  Ask us about our membership program, where we provide these documents for free for your adult children under age 25 and provide you with a special in case of emergency card that tells medical personnel how to obtain your student’s medical privacy release and their health care directives.   Right on the card is your contact information – so you can be notified right away, the student’s allergies and other important medical conditions- so that medical professionals can provide the most appropriate treatment immediately.