By: Monica Bernard, Paralegal
February 4, 2020
Advanced Care Directives for College-Aged Children
As parents, we all know the routine of taking our children to the doctor’s, dentist, etc. and making regular daily medical decisions for our children. However, in a blink of an eye, the day has come that you call your child’s medical provider to schedule an appointment, and you’re met with an unpleasant surprise.
They inform you that your child is now 18 years old, and your child now needs to call and make his or her own appointment. Even worse, they advise you that they can no longer discuss medical issues with you without your child’s prior permission!
Can you believe that? The clock strikes 12 and he or she is automatically presumed by law to be fully functional and mature, but we all know that’s not the case.
How do we protect our children once they turn 18 years old? How do we help them to be educated in making adult decisions? How do we make sure we can participate in their health and other important matters after they become “adults” legally? And of course, how do we protect them in the case of an emergency?
Advanced Care Directives Are the Answer
There is a way to be on top of this unpleasant surprise.
Advanced Care Directives are the best way to protect your college-aged child. It is a good idea to sit down with your children and discuss Advanced Care Directives.
It’s important to explain to them that it protects them and enables the parent(s) to continue to be involved in their medical and personal affairs, gain access to their protected information, and assist them in times of an emergency.
The two documents that are most important for your child are a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Surrogate.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney covers day to day matters and more important matters, all of which relate to finance, legal, accounting, tax, insurance, banking, bills, etc..
It is a good idea for your child to give a copy of the Durable Power of Attorney to his or her bank or school if they are attending college in advance to remain on record. Otherwise, it could be a hassle to be able to act on their behalf when it counts.
Health Care Surrogate
Similarly, a Health Care Surrogate covers all health care issues. The Health Care Surrogate will enable you as the parent to step in and make medical decisions for your child if they are unable to do so. It can, however, also enable the parent to be involved and gain access to his or her medical information even if he or she has capacity.
It is a good idea to have your child give a copy of the Health Care Proxy to their doctor to remain on file. Otherwise, it could be a hassle to be able to act on their behalf when it counts.
Once you have had a conversation with your child or children regarding their Advanced Care Directives, you should contact your estate planning attorney to have them prepare the forms and assist your child in properly executing the documents.
I’d also recommend not doing it yourself. You need counsel and advice in addition to drafting. There are times where it’s great to do things yourself. This is not one of them.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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