As your child prepares to graduate from high school, you have a laundry list of things that you will do for them. From completing those college applications to getting them Prom ready, you have your hands full. Before you send them on their way with their extra-long sheets and a meal plan, do you know ho can make decisions for them?
Once your child turns 18, he/she is no longer considered a minor. As a result, you no longer have the legal right to make certain decisions for your college-bound child. You have been making decisions for them their whole life and now that will come to a screeching halt.
It is imperative that every child (who after reaching age 18 is no longer considered a “child”) sign a Durable Power-of-Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Living Will and HIPAA authorization, also known as Advance Directives, before you drop them off on campus this August.
The Durable Power-of-Attorney will enable you (as the named agent) to make financial decisions on your son/daughter’s behalf if and when it is necessary. This document should contain expanded powers, such as the authority to make gifts and to sign tax returns, as well as provide for successor agent(s). In addition, this planning tool is essential in avoiding a Guardianship proceeding which can be time consuming, costly and restrictive.
The Health Care Proxy will allow you (as the named agent) to make health care decisions on your son/daughter’s behalf if they are unable to do so. Only one agent can be appointed to act at a time, so it is important to name alternates. This document can also state their wishes regarding organ donation. Can you imagine the following actual client scenario? Your son is away at school, more than 7 hours away by car. You learn that he was in an accident. You frantically call the hospital to find out his condition and are (politely) told that they are not allowed to give you any information on his condition as he is an adult and they do not have a record of any health care proxy. That is exactly what happened to a client. It was an extremely stressful 7 hour drive to the hospital!
The Living Will supplements the Health Care Proxy. It specifies their desires as to life sustaining treatment in the event there is no reasonable prospect of recovery. This document provides guidance with regard your son/daughter’s desires regarding extraordinary life sustaining treatment.
Finally, the HIPAA authorization allows you to get access to your son/daughter’s private medical information so that you can make informed medical decisions if needed.
At Russo Law Group, we are well aware of the benefits of an informed consumer, which is why we provide a comprehensive website with an abundance of information, as well as free seminars and webinars to educate the general public.
Please join us at one of our many upcoming seminars and webinars. For more information check the calendar of our website or give us a call.
Deanna M. Eble
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530