Ready or Not, Here Comes Adulthood: Essential Estate Planning for Parents of Soon-to-Be 18-Year-Olds

As parents, we often find ourselves caught in a whirlwind of emotions as our children approach adulthood. It’s a bittersweet timeā€”our babies are about to spread their wings and embark on the next chapter of their lives, often by heading off to college. But amidst the excitement and anticipation, it’s crucial to remember that once they turn 18, our “babies” are legally considered adults. This transition brings with it a new set of responsibilities, including the need for comprehensive estate planning. So, let’s dive into the essential documents parents need to ensure their children’s well-being and security as they take this significant step towards independence.

1. Power of Attorney (POA): Imagine your child is away at college, facing the complexities of managing their finances as they transition into adulthood. Without a Power of Attorney, you may encounter challenges in supporting them during financial emergencies or important decisions. By securing a Power of Attorney, you empower yourself to assist and guide your child through their financial journey, ensuring a smoother transition into adulthood.

2. Designation of Health Care Surrogate: When your child hits 18, they’re legally adults. That means you lose the ability to make healthcare decisions for them, go to the doctor with them, or even access their medical records. But let’s face it, most 18-year-olds still rely on their parents for healthcare guidance. And in an emergency, hospitals treat them as adults, whether they’re ready for it or not. Not having a Health Care Surrogate document in place can lead to delays and confusion during critical moments. This document lets your child name you, or another trusted adult, to help them with medical decisions.

3. FERPA Release or Authorization Form: As your child embarks on their college journey, you’ll want to stay informed about their academic progress and well-being. However, once they turn 18, federal privacy laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), may prevent you from accessing their educational records without their consent. To bypass this obstacle, consider having your child sign a FERPA release or authorization form. This document grants you access to their grades, transcripts, and other academic information, allowing you to provide support and guidance as they navigate their college experience.

Conclusion: The transition to adulthood is an exciting time filled with new opportunities and challenges. As parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our children are equipped with the tools they need to thrive, both personally and legally. By taking the time to establish essential estate planning documents such as a Power of Attorney, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, and FERPA release or authorization form, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be able to continue supporting and protecting your child, no matter where life takes them.

Ready to take the next step in securing your child’s future? Contact me today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how to navigate the estate planning process with ease:

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a qualified attorney to discuss your specific estate planning needs and determine the best course of action for your family.

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