VMM’s ADULTING 101℠
Life Preparedness for Young Adults
Creating a plan for whatever life brings next
They’ll always be your child and you’ll always be their parent, but if they are 18 or older, they are legally an adult.
As the parent of an adult, you are legally restricted or blocked from access to information about their life and ability to make decisions for them. If you want to help them with legal, financial, medical, and other affairs, you need to create an estate plan together.
“Estate plan” may sound like something just for the old or rich, but it’s not. It can be as simple as a few basic documents, giving your child and you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that whatever happens, you can help.
Whether they still live at home or on their own, whether they’re financially independent or not, whether they’re attending college, vocational school, or neither, their plan is tailored to them and follows their wishes.
You’ve protected your child their whole life. With an estate plan in place, you can continue protecting them now that they’re an adult.
A trusted name for over 50 years, Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP has been helping people protect themselves and their family.
We work with each client to create a comprehensive plan that’s tailored to their unique needs and meets their specific goals.
VMM is a full-service law firm providing counsel and representation in a variety of matters. Our experienced attorneys collaborate across a wide range of practice areas to provide legal and business solutions that are customized, comprehensive, and cost-effective.
Many of our clients trust us for all their legal needs, creating lasting relationships over decades and generations.
You can always expect individual attention, understanding of your needs, and dedication to your success.
What Their Plan Should Include
Estate plans vary widely depending on people’s different needs, but your child’s will likely include just 2–3 documents. Taking a few hours to complete them can save them and you a lot of stress or harm later on.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Durable Power of Attorney authorizes one or more persons whom your child trusts—you or another adult—to conduct legal, financial, and business affairs on their behalf.
Among other things, an agent can:
- Access bank accounts, financial records, retirement accounts, or insurance information.
- Pay or pause payments (loans, rent, bills, memberships, etc.).
- File insurance claims.
- Sign a lease on their behalf or settle with a landlord to surrender their lease.
- Transfer ownership of a car or other vehicle, to or from them.
- Settle collection claims or lawsuits in their name
In case of an emergency, it allows you to step in and help, even from a different state or country.
School records: A FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) consent to release allows you to view your child’s school records, like grades, schedule, and attendance.
Travelling abroad: If your child is studying or vacationing abroad, a Power of Attorney is as essential as travel insurance. Without it, their school, any local institution including a hospital, and even the US Embassy can’t divulge any information to you in case of an emergency or if they go missing.
A Power of Attorney is fully customizable. An agent’s authority can be broad or limited to specific guidelines, and it can be adjusted or revoked at any time.
HEALTH CARE PROXY
A Health Care Proxy authorizes a person your child trusts—you or another adult—to access their medical records and make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to.
Among other things, as their agent you can:
- Obtain their medical and immunization records.
- Be contacted if something happens to them and receive information from their doctor.
- Consent to or refuse medical treatment on their behalf.
- Admit them to or discharge them from the hospital.
- Employ or discharge health care providers on their behalf.
If they have preferences regarding things such as life support or organ donation, this document can include their wishes.
Without a Health Care Proxy you have no access or decision-making authority, even if they’re still on your medical insurance.
HIPPA Release: The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) prevents your child's health care provider and insurer from sharing their information. Since a Health Care Proxy is only effective if they’re incapacitated, they should also have a separate HIPAA Release. You may need it for something as simple as picking up their prescriptions.
Your child may not think that they need a Will at this stage of their life because they don’t own significant assets yet, but they should consider a Will if they:
- Own significant assets in their name.
- Want to designate beneficiaries for specific items like a pet, jewelry, heirloom, comic book collection, etc.
Together, these documents give you the power to have their back.
Some new rights when your child turns 18
- They can vote in national, state, and local elections.
- They can run for local and certain state political offices.
- They can enter into a binding contract.
- They can make a Will.
- They can obtain medical treatment without your consent.
- They can apply for credit in their own name.
- They can work in any job.
- They can live separately from you and independent of your legal control.
- They can enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- They can marry without your permission.
Some new responsibilities when your child turns 18
- You may no longer be required to support them.
- They are responsible for all their actions. If they break the law, they can be tried and sentenced as an adult.
- They may sue and be sued by others for contracts that they make.
- They may be called for jury duty.
- If they are male, they are required to register with the Selective Service System, making them eligible in case of a military draft. Failure to register can result in ineligibility for federal student loans and many government jobs, as well as fines and imprisonment.