Estate Planning Importance for New High School Graduates

It is graduation season! Your young adult is entering a new stage in life. Many new high school graduates are around the age of 18. Eighteen is the age of majority meaning they are legally an adult. As a parent, creating an estate plan for you new adult is essential.

Once a child turns 18 years old, it means that parents have no more extended access to their adult child’s medical records, college/university records, banking records, etc. Even though they are technically adults, they may not be ready to handle these matters alone.

Two important very important documents your new graduate should execute are a Durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Surrogate. 

Why Is This Important?

At the very least two of the fundamental components of an estate plan for a young adult should include a Durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Surrogate; these documents relate to financial and health care powers. They allow others to act on our behalf when we are unable to do so. 

Whether your child will be living alone now in a dormitory or still under the comfort of your home, they are still prone to risks. Statistics show that there are a quarter-million Americans age 18 and 25 that are hospitalized due to accidents each year.  

What makes matters worse is that if a young adult is involved in an accident and becomes incapacitated, parents would have to get court approval to act on their child’s behalf (i.e. establish a Guardianship). This can be avoided by simply having your child execute a durable power of attorney and a Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Surrogate (Advanced Healthcare Directive) before such incidents happen.

Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Surrogate/ Advanced Health Care Directive

This advanced health care directive gives authority over someone’s medical decisions. It authorizes an agent to make medical decisions on behalf of another. The HIPPA Release gives the agent full access to medical records. Additionally, the living will expresses a person’s preference when it comes to end-of-life care.

Durable Power of Attorney 

A Durable Power of Attorney, on the other hand, pertains to financial and legal matters. Signing this document means appointing an agent to act on behalf of the your young adult regarding any of his/her legal and financial matters.  Executing these documents means such power granted to agent(s) becomes effective immediately and is effective in incapacity. In many cases, this will eliminate the need to have a court appoint a Guardian in incapacity.

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