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What Every Parent Should Know Once Their Child Turns 18
As your child reaches the milestone of graduating from high school and turns 18 years old, it’s crucial to understand that you will no longer have the authority to make medical decisions on their behalf or have access to their medical records without their explicit consent.
This transition marks a significant shift in legal responsibility. As parents, you will no longer have the power to make important decisions for your child, whether they pertain to medical treatments or legal matters. To ensure that your child’s interests are protected and that you can act on their behalf when necessary, it is essential for them to have certain legal documents in place.
Firstly, your child should have a Durable Power of Attorney, in which your child appoints an agent and gives that agent the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your child’s behalf. This document allows the agent to handle matters such as managing the child’s bank accounts, signing contracts, or dealing with legal proceedings if your child becomes incapacitated.
Secondly, a Medical Power of Attorney is crucial in granting an agent the ability to make medical decisions for your child if the child is unable to do so himself. This grants an agent the authority to work with healthcare professionals and make informed choices about your child’s healthcare and treatment options.
Lastly, a HIPAA Release is necessary for you to access your child’s medical records when needed. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects an individual’s medical information and privacy. Without a HIPAA Release, healthcare providers are legally prohibited from sharing your child’s medical records with you once they turn 18.
These legal and medical matters may seem daunting, but it is essential to address them to ensure your child’s well-being and to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. You should have open and honest discussions with your child about these topics, emphasizing the importance of establishing these documents to protect their interests.
By taking the necessary steps to secure a Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney, and a HIPAA Release, your young adult child can ensure that an agent has the legal authority to act on his or her behalf. Additionally, the agent can make medical decisions for your child if necessary and can access your child’s medical records if and when the need arises.