Under the law, your child is considered a legal adult when he or she reaches the age of 18 years. Most parents do not want to think about their young adult needing an estate plan, but in some situations, it is important to do so. If a young person is moving far away from you for college or a job opportunity, you should consider establishing a health care proxy, power of attorney or even a will or trust for him or her.
Why would your 18 year old need these types of legal documents? As soon as he or she becomes a legal adult, HIPPA prohibits healthcare professionals from sharing private medical information to anyone without consent. If your child is seriously injured or otherwise incapacitated and cannot communicate his or her consent for you to be involved in medical decisions, it can get complicated quickly. To prevent any confusion, you should have a loved one appointed as a healthcare agent, especially for a young adult living away from home.
Another important topic to discuss with your young adult is whether he or she desires to be kept alive by heroic measures if he or she would not have a meaningful quality of life. While this can be extremely difficult to discuss, it is essential for family members to talk about in case the worst case scenario occurs. You should also talk about organ donation and whether your young adult prefers to be buried or cremated.
Although most young adults have not accumulated significant wealth, ownership of any gifted funds or assets vest in your child at the age of 18. If your child should die before you, his or her assets may need to go through the probate process. Without an estate plan, your child’s estate will pass to the heirs-at-law, which usually will be you, as the parents. However, if you have been working to reduce your estate for tax purposes or asset protection purposes, the inheritance of such assets could disrupt your strategy. It may worth considering establishing a simple estate plan for your young adult directing assets to be left to siblings or other family members.
To learn more, please contact us for an appointment. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.